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Effectiveness of Thin Hot Mix Asphalt Overlay on

Pavement Ride and Condition Performance


Final Report
Eddie Y. Chou, D. Datta, H. Pulugurta
The University of Toledo

Mileage vs. Actual Service Life Distribution of all Terminated Thin Overlay Projects
in General System
600

Statewide PCR Family Curves - Priority System

500

100
95

Minor Rehab

Thin Overlay

90
85

300

80
PCR

M ile a g e

400

200

75
70

100

Line of
Threshold PCR

65

Prepared in Cooperation with


The Ohio Department of Transportation
Office of Research and Development
and
The US Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
State Job Number 147950

60

0
1

10 11 12 13 14 15 5516 17

Actual Service Life (in Years)

50
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Age (in Years)

April 2008

1. Report No.

2. Government Accession No.

3. Recipient's Catalog No.

FHWA/OH-2008/4
4. Title and subtitle

5. Report Date

April 2008
Effectiveness of Thin Hot Mix Asphalt Overlay on Pavement
Ride and Condition Performance

6. Performing Organization Code

7. Author(s)

8. Performing Organization Report No.

Eddie Chou, Debargha Datta, Haricharan Pulugurta


10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)
9. Performing Organization Name and Address

University of Toledo
Department of Civil Engineering
Toledo, OH 43606-3390

11. Contract or Grant No.

147950
13. Type of Report and Period Covered

12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Ohio Department of Transportation


1980 West Broad Street
Columbus, Ohio 43223

14. Sponsoring Agency Code

15. Supplementary Notes

16. Abstract

The objectives of this study were: 1) To determine the cost effectiveness of thin hot mix asphalt (HMA)
overlays as a maintenance technique; 2) To determine under what conditions a thin overlay would be
suitable; 3) To determine the timing of constructing a thin overlay to maximize its benefits; and 4) To develop
a prototype aggregate source information system to correlate aggregate source quality to pavement
performance. Performance data for thin overlays constructed by ODOT since 1990 were collected to study
the cost-effectiveness of thin overlay. The average thin overlay project cost is about 40% of the average
minor rehabilitation project cost for the Priority System, and approximately 60% for the General System
pavements. In contrast, the average service life of a thin overlay is generally more than 70% of that of a
minor rehabilitation. Therefore, most of the thin overlays are deemed cost effective. Thin overlay projects
that are not cost effective tend to be those performed on very poor pavements, and with insufficient thickness.
Thin overlays are most likely to be cost effective if the existing pavements PCR score is between 70 and 90
for Priority System, and between 65 and 80 for General System pavements. A prototype aggregate source
GIS system was developed. Higher aggregate soundness loss is shown to correlate with higher pavement
deterioration rate. A thin HMA overlay is generally a cost-effective maintenance treatment. Employed
properly, thin overlay provides a relatively low cost alternative in preserving and extending the service life of
the existing pavement.
17. Key Words

18. Distribution Statement

Thin HMA Overlay, Cost Effectiveness, Aggregate Source GIS


system

No restrictions. This document is


available to the public through the
National Technical Information Service,
Springfield, Virginia 22161

19. Security Classif. (of this report)

20. Security Classif. (of this page)

21. No. of Pages

Unclassified

Unclassified

Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72)

Reproduction of completed pages authorized

149

22. Price

ii

Effectiveness of Thin Hot Mix Asphalt Overlay on


Pavement Ride and Condition Performance

Final Report
State Job No. 14795 (0)

Principal Investigator: Eddie Y. Chou


Coauthors: Debargha Datta, Haricharan Pulugurta
The University of Toledo

Prepared in Cooperation with


The Ohio Department of Transportation
and
The U. S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

April 2008

ii

DISCLAIMER

The contents of this report reflect the views of the author who is responsible for the facts and
the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official
views or policies of the Ohio Department of Transportation or the Federal Highway
Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.

iii

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The researchers would like to thank the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Federal
Highway Administration for sponsoring this study.

The researchers also would like to thank the technical liaisons of this project: Mr. Roger
Green, Mr. Aric Morse, Mr. Jeff Wigdhal, and Mr. Andrew Williams for their helpful
assistance during this study. Mr. Emil Marginean provided updated pavement condition data,
and Mr. Adam Au provided pavement construction cost data. Without their assistance, this
study would not have been completed.

The assistance provided by Dr. Joseph Tack, a former graduate research assistant at the
University of Toledo, during the first phase of this study is also appreciated.

iv

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page
List of Figures ................................................................................................................ vi
List of Tables .................................................................................................................. viii
Executive Summary ....................................................................................................... I
Introduction .................................................................................................................... 1
Objective of Research .................................................................................................... 3
General Description of Research ................................................................................... 3
Findings of the Research Effort ..................................................................................... 15
Conclusions and Recommendations .............................................................................. 77
Implementation Plan ...................................................................................................... 80

Appendix A: References ............................................................................................... A1


Appendix B: Thin Overlay Failure Mode District Survey Results .............................. B1
Appendix C: Cost Data of Recent Projects ................................................................. C1
Appendix D: List of Priority System Thin Overlay Projects Included in Analysis...... D1
Appendix E: List of General System Thin Overlay Sections Included for Analysis .. E1
Appendix F: ODOT Aggregate Source Information System User Manual ................. F1

LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1: Benefit of a Thin Overlay ................................................................................... 9
Figure 2: Extension of Service Life Due to a Thin Overlay............................................... 11
Figure 3: Average Distress Levels Prior to and 8 Years after Thin Overlay...................... 18
Figure 4: Actual Service Lives Distribution of Terminated Thin Overlay Projects........... 22
Figure 5: Actual Service Life as a Function of Pavement Type......................................... 23
Figure 6: Average Service Life of Terminated Thin Overlays in Each District................. 24
Figure 7: Terminal PCR of Terminated Thin Overlay Projects in Each District ............... 25
Figure 8: Average Performance Trends of Minor Rehabilitation and Thin Overlay ......... 27
Figure 9: Time Extension (t) of Thin Overlays on Priority System ................................... 28
Figure 10: Time Extension (t) of Thin Overlays on General System................................... 29
Figure 11: Definition of Thin Overlay Performance ............................................................ 30
Figure 12: Effect of Existing Pavement Condition on Thin Overlay Performance.............. 31
Figure 13: Prior PCR Range in Each District....................................................................... 33
Figure 14: Average Thin Overlay Performance in each District.......................................... 34
Figure 15: Effect of Snowfall on General System Thin Overlay Performance.................... 36
Figure 16: Proportions of Thin Overlay Thickness in Each District .................................... 37
Figure 17: Effect of Overlay Thickness on Thin Overlay Performance............................... 38
Figure 18: Effect of Traffic Loading on Thin Overlay Performance ................................... 39
Figure 19: Average Performance as a Function of Year of Construction ............................ 41
Figure 20: Definition of Thin Overlay Benefit..................................................................... 42
Figure 21: Average Performance and Benefit as a Function of Prior PCR .......................... 43
Figure 22: Average Performance and Benefit as a Function of Prior Cracking Deduct ...... 44
Figure 23: Average Ride Quality Deterioration Trend of Thin Overlay .............................. 46
Figure 24: Average Benefit of Thin Overlay and Minor Rehabilitation in Each District .... 49
Figure 25: Cost Effective by the Time-Extension Method but Not-Cost Effective by the
Performance Area Method .................................................................................. 51
Figure 26: Not Cost Effective by the Time-Extension Method but Cost Effective by
Performance Area Method .................................................................................. 51
Figure 27: Not Cost Effective by Either Method ................................................................. 52
vi

Figure 28: Cost Effective by Both Methods ......................................................................... 52


Figure 29: Average Benefit-Cost Ratio of Thin Overlays in Each Districts ........................ 53
Figure 30: CE and NCE Mileage by Year of Construction .................................................. 55
Figure 31: Cost Effectiveness of 1994-2002 Thin Overlays in Each District ...................... 56
Figure 32: Cost Effectiveness as a Function of the Ratio Thin Overlay Cost versus Minor
Rehabilitation Cost.............................................................................................. 57
Figure 33: Cost Effectiveness as a Function of Pavement Type .......................................... 59
Figure 34: Cost Effectiveness as a Function of Prior PCR................................................... 60
Figure 35: Determination of the Optimal Prior PCR Range Using the ROC Method ......... 61
Figure 36: Proportion of Each Parameter within Cost Effective and Not Cost Effective
Priority System Thin Overlays............................................................................ 63
Figure 37: Proportion of Each Parameter within Cost Effective and Not Cost Effective
General System Thin Overlay............................................................................. 64
Figure 38: Location of Aggregate Quarries in Ohio............................................................. 67
Figure 39: Aggregate Source Information System Structure ............................................... 67
Figure 40: Relating Source Aggregate Test Data to a Pavement Project ............................. 68
Figure 41: Average Soundness Loss of Gravel (1994-2005) ............................................... 70
Figure 42: Average Abrasion Loss of Gravel (1994-2005) ................................................. 70
Figure 43: Average Soundness Loss of Limestone (1994-2005) ........................................ 71
Figure 44: Average Abrasion Loss of Limestone (1994-2005) ........................................... 71
Figure 45: Average Soundness Loss of both Limestone and Gravel (1994-2005) .............. 72
Figure 46: PCR Slope versus Abrasion Loss for District 2 and 3) ...................................... 73
Figure 47: PCR Slope versus Soundness Loss for District 2 and 3) .................................... 73
Figure 48: Soundness Loss vs. Pavement Condition Distribution Map for District 2 and 3)
............................................................................................................................. 74

vii

LIST OF TABLES
Table 1:

Existing Cost-Effective Analysis Methods ......................................................... 6

Table 2:

Thin Overlay Projects Constructed During 1990-2002 ...................................... 8

Table 3:

Median Deducts 8 Years after Thin Overlay in Each District ............................ 17

Table 4:

Number of Thin Overlay Sections in Various Prior PCR Ranges ...................... 32

Table 5:

Number of Thin Overlay Sections in Different Traffic Loading Levels ............ 35

Table 6:

Thin Overlay Projects Constructed during 1994-2002 ....................................... 40

Table 7:

Percent of Cost Effective Mileage versus Prior PCR and Thickness.................. 62

Table 8:

Summary of Soundness and Abrasion Losses of Different Aggregates ............. 69

Table 9:

Estimated RMSE of Different Interpolation Methods Applied on


Soundness Loss of Aggregates ........................................................................... 75

Table 10: Estimated RMSE of Different Interpolation Methods Applied on


Abrasion Loss of Aggregates .............................................................................. 76

viii

The Ohio Department of Transportation


Office of Research & Development
Executive Summary Report
Effectiveness of Thin Hot Mix Asphalt Overlay on
Pavement Ride and Condition Performance
Start Date: February 1, 2002
Duration: 76 months
Completion Date: May 31, 2008
Report Date: February 1, 2008
State Job Number: 14795
Report Number: FHWA/OH-2008/4
Funding: $244,530
Principle Investigators:
Eddie Y. Chou, Ph.D.,P.E.
University of Toledo
419-530-8123
ychou@utnet.utoledo.edu
ODOT Contacts:
Technical:
Roger Green
Aric Morse
Office of Pavement Engineering
614-995-5993
614-995-5994
Administrative:
Monique R. Evans, P.E.
Administrator, R&D
614-728-6048
For copies of this final report go to
http://www.dot.state.oh.us/divplan/research
or call 614-644-8173.
Ohio Department of Transportation
Office of Research & Development
1980 West Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43223

Problem
A thin (2 inches or less) hot mix asphalt
(HMA) overlay is one of the maintenance
techniques performed on asphalt-surfaced
pavements to extend the service life of the
existing pavement. Thin overlays protect the
pavement structure, reduce the rate of
pavement deterioration, correct surface
deficiencies, reduce permeability, and improve
the ride quality. Milling may be performed
prior to the thin overlay to remove deteriorated
surface materials.
A study of Ohios experience on thin
overlay performance was initiated to determine
the cost effectiveness of thin HMA overlay as
a maintenance technique, and to develop
criteria for selecting pavement candidates
suitable for receiving thin overlay treatment.
Objectives
1. To determine the cost effectiveness of using
thin hot mix asphalt overlays as a
maintenance technique.
2. To determine under what circumstances a
thin hot mix overlay would be suitable.
3. To determine the timing of constructing a
thin overlay to maximize its benefits.
An addendum to the original study adds the
following objective:
4. To develop a prototype aggregate source
information system to correlate aggregate
source quality to pavement performance.

Description
The study was divided into two phases.
During Phase I, the researchers in
collaboration with ODOT gathered
performance data for all thin overlay
projects constructed since 1990 on both
Priority and General system pavements.
The performance data gathered were
used in Phase II to study the
effectiveness of thin overlay as
influenced
by
climate,
existing
pavement condition, overlay thickness,
traffic loading, and other parameters.
As a result of a concurrent research
study on pavement forecasting models,
predicted pavement conditions became
available. This allowed more recent
thin overlay projects without a long
history of performance data to be
included in the study.
The performance of a thin overlay is
measured in terms of the area under the
PCR versus age curve, whereas the
benefit of a thin overlay is defined as
that part of the performance due solely
to the thin overlay, i.e., total
performance subtracting the residual
performance of the existing pavement.
The cost effectiveness of a thin overlay
is determined by comparing the cost per
unit area of benefit versus that of a
typical minor rehabilitation.
Findings
The performance of a thin overlay
increases with better existing pavement
condition, less annual snowfall amount,
and increased overlay thickness. Thin
overlays on flexible pavements perform
better than those on composite
pavements, as thin overlays are more
effective in addressing rutting distress,
but less effective in eradicating cracking
distresses,
such
as
transverse,
longitudinal or reflective cracking. The

benefits of a thin overlay include


improvements in both pavement condition and
ride quality. The benefits decrease if the
existing pavement is still in excellent condition.
Based on the cost data from recent projects,
the average thin overlay project cost is only
about 40% of the average minor rehabilitation
project cost for the Priority System, and
approximately 60% for the General System
pavements. However, the average service life
of a thin overlay is generally above 70% of the
average service life of a comparable minor
rehabilitation. As a result, a majority of the
thin overlays are deemed cost effective. Thin
overlay projects that are not cost effective tend
to be those performed on very poor pavements,
and with insufficient thickness. Thin overlays
are most likely to be cost effective if the
existing pavements PCR score is between 70
and 90 for Priority System, and between 65 and
80 for General System pavements.
A prototype aggregate source information
system has been developed. Higher aggregate
soundness loss is shown to correlate with
higher pavement deterioration rate, based on
data from Districts 2 and 3.
Conclusions & Recommendations
A thin hot mix asphalt overlay is, in general, a
cost-effective maintenance treatment.
The
most important criteria for selecting pavement
candidates suitable for receiving thin overlay
treatment are existing distress conditions and
pavement type.
Employed properly, thin
overlay provides a relatively low cost
alternative in preserving and extending the
service life of the existing pavement network.
Implementation Potential
The criteria developed in this study can be used
by ODOT to select candidate pavements most
suitable to receive thin overlay treatment to
obtain the maximum benefit. The aggregate
source information system developed can also
be used readily.
II

INTRODUCTION

Many transportation agencies in charge of maintaining pavement networks have recognized the
importance of allocating a portion of their budgets to prolong the service life of existing
pavements through preventive maintenance measures, instead of just rehabilitated those
pavements that have already failed. It has been said that one dollar invested in preventive
maintenance at the appropriate time in the life of a pavement can save $3 to $4 dollars in future
rehabilitation costs (Geoffrey, 1996). In light of the rapid increases in highway construction
costs due to escalating fuel costs and inflation, prudent use of the cost-effective maintenance
treatments should be a vital part of the overall strategy to preserve the existing highway
infrastructure.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has encouraged transportation agencies at all
levels to implement preventive maintenance programs by allowing federal funds to be used for
maintenance treatments when it can be demonstrated that such maintenance treatments are costeffective methods of extending pavement life.

A thin (2 inches or less) hot mix asphalt (HMA) overlay is one of the maintenance techniques
performed on asphalt-surfaced pavements to extend the service life of the existing pavement.
Thin overlays protect the pavement structure, reduce the rate of pavement deterioration, correct
surface deficiencies, reduce permeability, and improve the ride quality.

Milling may be

performed prior to the thin overlay to remove deteriorated surface materials.

A study was initiated by ODOT to determine whether or not thin HMA overlay is a cost
effective maintenance technique based on Ohios experience. The study also aims to determine
the criteria for selecting suitable candidate pavement sections for thin overlay treatment, and to
determine the appropriate timing of treatment in order to maximize the benefit.

Background

There are a number of preventative maintenance techniques, all of which focus on preserving a
pavements structure by alleviating functional deficiencies without significantly affecting the
structural capacity of a pavement.

HMA thin overlay is generally the highest level of

preventive maintenance treatment performed on asphalt surfaced pavements.

The Long Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) program of the Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA) included a Specific Pavement Study-3 (SPS-3), which focused on
studying the effectiveness of various maintenance treatments. The treatments studied include
crack sealing, chip seal, slurry seal, and thin overlays. The goal of the SPS-3 was to determine
the life expectancy and timing of treatment applications. However, none of the 81 SPS-3
project sites are located in Ohio.

Thin HMA overlays have been performed by many transportation agencies with varying
success. A recent AASHTO questionnaire study indicates that out of the 25 States that have
used thin HMA overlays, 11 reported less than satisfactory results. The reported problems with
thin HMA overlays include de-lamination, reflective cracking, poor friction, low durability,
excessive permeability, and maintenance problems once failure starts.

An NCHRP survey (Geoffrey, 1996) showed that thin overlays generally have a service life of
between 5 and 8 years, but actual service life reported by the states ranges from as short as 2
years to as long as 10 years.

The service lives vary significantly due to differences in

specifications, materials, thickness, treatment timing, traffic loading, and climatic conditions.
ODOTs Pavement Preventive Maintenance Guideline estimates that pavements that are
structurally sound, due to a recent minor or major rehabilitation, and are treated with a thin
HMA overlay are expected to last 8 to 12 years.

A study based on the performance experience of thin HMA overlays constructed in Ohio is
warranted, in order to determine the cost-effectiveness of thin overlays as a maintenance
treatment.

OBJECTIVE OF THE RESEARCH


The objectives of this study were:
1. To determine the cost effectiveness of using thin (2 inches or less) hot mix asphalt overlays
as a maintenance technique based on performance experience in Ohio;
2. To determine under what circumstances a thin hot mix overlay would be suitable; and
3. To determine the timing of constructing a thin overlay in order to maximize its benefits.

An addendum to the original study adds the following objective:


4. To develop a prototype aggregate source information system to analyze aggregate quality
data based on its source location, and to correlate quarry aggregate test data to pavement
performance.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF RESEARCH


To accomplish the above listed objectives, the study was divided into two phases. Phase I was
to collect thin overlay project performance data and to determine whether or not a sufficient
number of preventive maintenance thin overlay projects and corresponding condition data were
available to support the subsequent analysis. Phase II was to determine the cost-effectiveness
of thin overlay treatment as a maintenance treatment and to develop criteria for selecting
candidate pavements and the timing of construction in order to maximize the benefit of a thin
overlay.

The following tasks were performed:

Phase I
Task 1:

Review of the Literature and Survey of District Maintenance Engineers

Task 2:

Collection of Thin Overlay Project Performance Data in Ohio

Task 3:

Preparation of the Interim Report


3

Phase II
Task 4:

Evaluation of Cost Effectiveness

Task 5:

Determination of Treatment Criteria

Task 6:

Development of a Prototype Aggregate Source Information System

Task 7:

Preparation of the Draft Final Report

Task 1: Literature Review and Survey of District Maintenance Engineers


Literature Review
A review of the existing literature on effectiveness of thin overlays was performed. The cost
effectiveness of thin overlay as a maintenance technique has been studied by a number of
researchers. Most of the recent studies were based on data from the LTPP SPS-3 experiments.
The major findings of the literature review are summarized below.
Geoffrey (1996) in NCHRP Synthesis 223 used a questionnaire survey of 60 transportation
agencies and published information to summarize the cost-effectiveness experiences of
preventive maintenance treatments. The report concluded that one dollar invested in preventive
maintenance at the appropriate time in the life of a pavement could save $3 to $4 in future
rehabilitation costs. The most cost-effective pavement management strategy is to perform
preventive maintenance activities on the better-rated pavements first and then fund the
rehabilitation of the poorer-rated pavements. The worst-first funding strategy is the least costeffective.
According to the survey responses contained in the Synthesis, for the State of Ohio, the typical
pavement age at the time of first thin overlay (years) was 9-10 years, and the typical life span
of a thin overlay was 9-10 years. The cost per lane mile was $25,000-$49,999, and the
observed increase in pavement life was 7-8 years.
Eltahan et al, (1999) studied the effectiveness of maintenance treatments of flexible pavements
based on data from 28 of the 81 SPS-3 projects located in the Southern region, which includes
Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Okalahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. Their study

showed that the original condition of a pavement before maintenance treatment has a major
impact on the life expectancy of the treatment. For thin overlays, the median life expectancy
was 7.5, 7.3, and 2.5 years when the original condition was good, fair, and poor, respectively.
The median benefit of the thin overlay, defined as the number of years added to the median life
expectancy due to the thin overlay as compared to that of the control sections (i.e., without
treatment), was 2, 4.8, and 2.5 years when the original condition was good, fair, and poor,
respectively. They concluded that applying maintenance to sections with a poor condition
increases the risk of failure by 2 to 4 times. They also found chip seal to outperform thin
overlay, slurry seal, and crack seal in controlling the reappearance of distresses.
Hall et al. (2003) used the entire data set from SPS-3 experiment to assess the relative
performance of different maintenance treatments for flexible pavements. Thin overlays were
found to be the most effective treatment, followed by chip seals and slurry seals, in addressing
roughness, rutting, and cracking.
Chen et al. (2003) studied 14 SPS-3 sites located in Texas. The study concluded that chip seal
was the most effective treatment in most cases. However, thin overlay was the most effective
treatment in addressing rutting problems, and should be used on high traffic routes where
rutting is a major concern. They also concluded that the timing for preventive maintenance is
very important.
Based on the same subset of the SPS-3 data, Chang et al. (2005) determined the cost
effectiveness of various maintenance treatments by considering the cost of treatments. They
concluded that chip seal was the most cost effective treatment, as the cost of thin overlay was
the highest among all preventive maintenance treatments.
Several different methods to quantify the cost-effectiveness of preventive maintenance have
been described in the literature. Table 1 shows a summary of these methods. Hicks et al.
(1997 and 1999) proposed a process for selecting the most effective maintenance treatment for
flexible pavements based on a decision matrix. The timing of the treatment and user delay cost
were added to the consideration.

Table 1: Existing Cost-Effective Analysis Methods


(from Hicks, et al. 1999)

Method
Life-cycle costing

Cost-Effectiveness
analysis

Requirements

Interest rates
Inflation rates
Analysis period
Unit cost for treatment
Estimated life of treatment
Pavement performance
curve

Equivalent annual
cost

Cost of equipment, man


power, materials

Longevity cost
index

Treatment unit cost


Present value of unit cost
over life of treatment
Traffic loading
Life of the treatment

Output
The equivalent
annual cost for
each proposed
treatment
Area under the
performance curve
is equivalent to
effectiveness
Unit cost per
expected life of
treatment
Relates present
value of cost of
treatment to life
and traffic

The life-cycle costing method requires interest and inflation rates as input and its result is
highly sensitive to these values. Actual values of interest and inflation rates (or the difference
of the two, called discount rate) fluctuate with time, and the appropriate values to be used for
evaluating public projects are not yet universally agreed upon. The longevity cost index
method also requires interest and inflation rates to determine the present value of future cost.
Therefore, these two methods were not selected for the current study.
The cost effectiveness method uses area under the pavement performance curve (PCR-Year) as
the measure for effectiveness.

The performance histories of past thin overlay projects

constructed in Ohio have been collected and are available in the ODOT pavement database.
Therefore, this method can be used in the current study.
The equivalent annual cost (EAC) method is relatively straight forward. The EAC can be
calculated as:
EAC =

unit cost of treatment


expected life of treatment, years

(1)

In this study, the cost-effectiveness analysis and the equivalent annual cost methods were
selected to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of thin-overlay treatment.

Survey of District Maintenance Engineers


Telephone interviews were conducted to survey the District Maintenance Engineers in Ohio
regarding thin overlay performance in each District. The purpose was to gather the experience
of thin treatment through out Ohio, and to identify the specific distresses, related to traffic
loading or climate, observed in various Districts. The results are reported in the findings
section, along with the actual distress type and level information based on the measured
pavement condition rating (PCR) data in the ODOT pavement database.

Task 2: Collection of Thin Overlay Project Performance Data in Ohio


A list of thin overlay projects within each District was compiled. The researchers collaborated
with the Office of Pavement Engineering staff in reviewing thousands of project plans to
collect project specific data. In order to identify the thin overlay projects and the corresponding
pavement performance, the project history, pavement buildup, thickness added, pavement
condition ratings, traffic loading, and other relevant data for all twolane undivided highways
(the General and Urban systems) since 1990 were collected. Similar data for all four-lane
divided highways (the Priority system) since 1985 had been collected as part of a previous
research study.
database.

All data collected were included in the ODOT pavement management

This database also supports other research studies and various pavement

management activities.
Thin overlay projects constructed after 2002 are not included in this study, because these thin
overlays have not been in service long enough to accurately assess their performance. The thin
overlay projects identified and included in this study are summarized in Table 2. For the
Priority system, 194 thin overlay projects, totaling 1733.9 miles, constructed between 1990 and
2002 were included. Among these thin overlays, 135 projects, totaling 1030.2 miles, have
received a subsequent maintenance or rehabilitation treatment, and therefore these thin overlays

are considered as terminated. Only the terminated thin overlays have known actual service
life. The rest of the thin overlays are still in service, and their service life can only be estimated
from forecasted pavement conditions. For the General system, 1367 thin overlay projects,
totaling 9335 miles, are included in this study. Among them, 765 projects totaling 4075.2
miles are terminated projects.

Each project may include multiple sections, due to

differences in existing or subsequent pavement conditions, traffic loading, county, or pavement


type.

Many of the thin overlays on the Priority system pavements were performed as preventive
maintenance treatments, while most of the thin overlays performed on the General system
pavements were not intended as preventive maintenance.

Table 2: Thin Overlay Projects Constructed During 1990-2002


Priority

General

No. of
No. of
Thin
Thin
Miles
Miles
Overlay
Overlay
Project
Project
1
9 (5)
102.4 (25.7)
150 (96)
1075.1 (541.3)
2
12 (9)
80 (53.8)
73 (42)
477.2 (214)
3
12 (11)
102.6 (90.4)
111 (69)
741.5 (359.9)
4
20 (15)
147.8 (103)
111 (59)
680.3 (254.7)
5
18 (9)
158.8 (91.4)
62 (43)
592.5 (332.3)
6
33 (22)
375.1 (226.9)
119 (79)
1079.3 (593.2)
7
17 (12)
177.9 (117.4)
250 (136) 1313.3 (607.8)
8
20 (13)
229 (122.5)
99 (62)
702.2 (353.9)
9
9 (6)
57.1 (33.5)
87 (31)
587.2 (118.1)
10
11 (6)
54.4 (18.9)
137 (64)
1036.7 (328.4)
11
15 (13)
129 (67)
136 (74)
931.3 (335.8)
12
18 (14)
119.9 (79.8)
32 (10)
118.4 (35.6)
194
Statewide
1733.9 (1030.2) 1367 (765) 9335 (4075.2)
(135)
* Numbers in parentheses are those thin overlays that have terminated.
District

Task 3: Preparation of the Interim Report


At the end of Phase I, an interim report was prepared and submitted. The report concluded that
the amount of thin overlay project data available were sufficient to support the analyses in
Phase II. It was decided by ODOT to include all thin overlay projects, whether or not they
were intended as preventive maintenance treatments, for this study.

Task 4: Evaluation of Cost Effectiveness


Two different methods were used to determine the benefit or effectiveness of thin HMA
overlay treatment. The first method uses the increased performance area under the pavement
condition rating (PCR) versus age curve due to the thin overlay as the measure of thin overlay
benefit. The second method uses the extension of a pavements service life due to a thin
overlay treatment as the measure of thin overlay benefit.
Figure 1 illustrates the performance area method, where the performance of a pavement is
measured by the area under the PCR condition versus Age curve above a terminal condition
threshold, when a major or minor rehabilitation become necessary (e.g., area A1 in the Figure
below). The benefit of a thin overlay treatment is defined as the performance area after a thin
overlay minus the residual performance of the previous treatment (i.e., area A0 is the benefit of
the thin overlay).

Condition, PCR

C1

C0

A0

A1

PCR = 60

Time, Years
Figure 1: Benefit of a Thin Overlay
9

The benefit-cost ratio can be obtained by dividing the benefit by the cost of construction for
the thin overlay. The benefit cost ratio (B/C) can be calculated by:

B/C =

A0 C1

A1 C0

(2)

where A0 is the benefit of a thin overlay,


A1 is the performance/benefit of a typical minor rehabilitation in the same District,
C0 is the average cost of a thin overlay, and
C1 is the average cost of a typical minor rehabilitation.
When the benefit-cost ratio is greater than one, the thin overlay is deemed cost effective.

As a result of a concurrent research study on Pavement Forecasting Models, the ability to


predict pavement conditions became available during the course of this study. Therefore,
pavement performance to a specified terminal condition threshold can be predicted, which
allows many pavement sections that have not reached the terminal condition to be included in
the analysis. Furthermore, the benefit of a thin overlay can be evaluated by comparing the
performance of a pavement that received a thin overlay versus the predicted performance of the
same pavement if the thin overlay was not performed. Consequently, it is not necessary to
identify control sections with characteristics similar to the thin overlay test section, as the
same pavement section serves as both the test section and the control section.
The average cost of thin overlays and the average cost of typical minor rehabilitations were
obtained from an analysis of recently completed projects. The cost data were provided by the
Staff of the Office of Pavement Engineering.

Figure 2 illustrates the time extension method, where the benefit of an overlay is expressed as
the time extension, t, of the pavements service life.

10

Pavement Condition

Minor /
Major

Minor /
Major

Thin Overlay

Minor /
Major

t
x3
x2

x1
Time, Years

Figure 2: Extension of Service Life Due to a Thin Overlay

The extension of service life, t, due to a thin overlay as compared with no treatment can be
expressed as:

t = ( x1 + x2 ) x3
where t =

(3)

time extension of pavement service life due to thin overlay, in years,

x1 = age of the existing pavement at the time of thin overlay,


x2 = life span of the thin overlay (i.e., age of thin overlay when it falls below the
terminal condition threshold)
x3 = life span of the existing pavement, if no thin overlay was performed
As illustrated in Figure 2, x1 + x2 represents the total service life of a pavement section when a
thin overlay is performed, and x3 represent the predicted service life of the same pavement
section, if the thin overlay was not performed. If the thin overlay life span, x2, remains
relatively unchanged, the later it is performed during the life of an existing pavement (i.e.,
larger x1), the longer the time extension, t. However, a thin overlays life span may be
shortened if it is performed on a pavement with very poor existing condition.

11

The equivalent annual cost (EAC) of a thin overlay project can be calculated by dividing the
average unit cost per lane-mile of thin overlay by the time extension, t. The EAC of a minor
rehabilitation is calculated by dividing the average unit cost per lane-mile of a typical minor
rehabilitation by the typical minor rehabilitation life span, for example, x3. The thin overlay is
considered as cost effective if its EAC is less than the EAC of a minor rehabilitation. For
example, if the cost of a thin overlay is 60% of the cost of a minor rehabilitation, and if the
average service life of the minor rehabilitation is twelve (12) years, then the thin overlay must
extend the time to next treatment by more than seven (7) years to be cost-effective.

Task 5: Determination of Treatment Criteria

This task was to determine under what circumstances a thin HMA overlay would be more
likely to be cost-effective.

The parameters that likely affect the performance and cost-

effectiveness of a thin overlay include: 1) existing pavement type, 2) pavement condition prior
to the thin overlay, 3) thickness of the overlay, 4) traffic loading, 5) climatic factors such as
snowfall amount, 6) District location, and 7) quality of the thin overlay itself, including quality
of the materials used, workmanship of construction, and time of year of the placement. Except
for the last category of parameters, where no data are readily available, the effect of each of the
above parameters on thin overlay performance, benefit, and cost-effectiveness were
investigated. The District location parameter likely encompasses a number of parameters such
as material qualities, maintenance practices, rehabilitation strategies, traffic patterns and
climate.

The criteria for selecting the candidate pavements suitable for thin HMA overlay treatment and
the optimal timing of constructing a thin overlay were also developed as part of this task. The
cost effectiveness of each thin overlay sections was determined based on the performance area
method. The criteria were developed by comparing the characteristics of the thin overlays that
were deemed cost effective with those thin overlays that were deemed not cost effective.

12

Task 6: Development of a Prototype Aggregate Source Quality Information System

Aggregates comprise the basic skeleton of any flexible or concrete pavement. Therefore, the
quality of aggregates strongly influences the durability and performance of pavement. The
scope of this task was to develop a prototype aggregate source information system to reference
aggregate source and quality data geographically, and to correlate the aggregate quarry test data
to pavement performance.

Available data from Districts 2 and 3 are use to developed the

prototype system. The geo-referenced aggregate source quality information can be used by the
Office of Materials Management as a pro-active tool for allocating sampling resources (i.e.,
increasing sampling in suspect areas before they become a problem) and for monitoring
aggregate quality.

The specific subtasks performed include:

Development of an ArcGIS Script for Data Entry


An ArcGIS Script was developed to allow the user to append and edit the aggregate quality
data into the database and use them for further analysis. The detailed description of the steps to
use the script is covered in Sections 3 to 6 of Appendix F.

Clipping the Grid Automatically 20 Miles from Aggregate Source


After importing the aggregate quality data into ArcGIS, the method of clipping the resulting
raster data was done using the buffer and extraction tools available in ArcGIS 9.1. The detailed
steps to accomplish this task are covered in Section 11.2 of Appendix F.

Recommendation for a Suitable Interpolation Method


Different methods are available to interpolate the aggregate test data from the quarry source
locations. The details of these methods and the steps to identify the best method are described
in Section 9 of Appendix F. The estimated root mean square error (RMSE) was used as an

13

indicator to determine the most suitable interpolation method. The method that yields the
lowest RMSE is recommended as the best method.

Analyzing the Aggregate Test Data and Correlation with Pavement Performance
Large amounts of aggregate quality test data from various quarries have been collected by
ODOT dating back many years.

The two types of test data analyzed for this study are

soundness loss and abrasion loss. Using data from Districts 2 and 3, where aggregate source(s)
for each pavement project were identified through the Job Mix Formula (JMF) and the
Producer/Supplier Code information, the aggregate quality corresponding to the same time era
of construction was correlated with the subsequent pavement performance, in terms of the
average PCR drop per year. When the exact aggregate source can not be identified, aggregate
quality interpolated from nearby quarry locations was used to correlate with pavement
performance.

14

FINDINGS OF THE RESEARCH EFFORT


The findings of this study are presented in this section. They include:
I. Performance experience of thin overlay as a maintenance treatment in Ohio
District Maintenance Engineers survey results,
Summary of distresses from PCR data,
Actual service life of terminated thin overlays,
II. Cost effectiveness of thin overlays
Time extension of service life due to thin overlays,
Performance (area under the PCR-age curve) of thin overlays,
Benefit of thin overlays,
Cost analysis,
Benefit-Cost Ratio and Cost-Effectiveness Determination
III. Criteria for cost-effective thin overlay treatment and timing of construction, and
IX. Prototype aggregate source quality information system

I. Experience of Thin Overlay as a Maintenance Treatment in Ohio


District Maintenance Engineers Survey Results
The following distresses were reported by the District Maintenance Engineers as typically
failure modes of thin HMA overlays:

Reflective cracking,

Random / thermal cracking,

Edge cracking (only on Urban/General system pavements),

Raveling,

Longitudinal cold joint failures,

Rutting (only on Urban/General system pavements in Districts 6 and 11),

Corrugation (occasional, in hilly area with high trucks and thin overlay
thickness, reported by Districts 4, 6, 7, and 8),

De-bonding (occasional), and

15

Water in base course was identified by Districts 8 and 11 as cause of many


failures.

The survey questionnaire and the detailed responses of each District Maintenance Engineer are
included in Appendix B.

Summary of Distresses from PCR Data


Based on the historic PCR and corresponding distress data contained in the ODOT Pavement
Database, the actual distresses observed for pavements that received a thin overlay treatment
between 1990 and 1998 were extracted. Table 3 shows the median deduct value of the more
significant distresses for thin overlays that were eight (8) years old in each District. Higher
deduct values correspond to a combination of higher severity and/or extent of a particular
distress. It can be seen that the type of distress and the severity of each distress vary from one
District to another. The shaded cells in Table 3 represent significant distress deducts. For the
Priority system, where the majority of pavements are composite pavements, joint reflective
cracking, raveling, rutting, and crack sealing deficiency are the major distresses. For the
General system, with predominantly flexible pavements, block and transverse cracking,
raveling, rutting, wheel track cracking, and crack sealing deficiency are the major distresses.
The effect of milling is not obvious and varies among Districts.
Figure 3(a) and 3(b) shows the average levels of the more significant distresses before and
eight (8) years after thin overlays. The vertical axis is the percentage of pavements having the
particular distress level. The horizontal axis shows the level of distress in terms of severity and
extent, ranging from NULL (not-exist) to LO (Low severity, Occasional), LF (Low severity,
Frequent), to HE (High severity, Extensive). Thin overlays are more effective in reducing
rutting distress, but less effective in eradiating cracking distresses. Figure 3(c) shows that thin
overlays that required milling had more prior cracking distresses.

The average cracking

distress levels eight years after thin overlays with milling are not significantly different from
the average prior distress levels, and are comparable to that of overlays without milling. As the
milling data are not precise and the practices of milling vary among Districts, more detailed
analysis is necessary to accurately determine the effect of milling.

16

Table 3: Median Deducts 8 Years after Thin Overlay in Each District


(a) Priority System
Type of
Distress
Intermediate
Transverse
Cracking
Joint
Reflection
Cracking
Longitudinal
Cracking
Raveling
Rutting
Crack
Sealing
Deficiency
ALL

Milling

w/o
with

1.9

w/o
with
w/o
with
w/o
with
w/o
with
w/o
with
w/o
with

2
3.2

12
12
3.5
3
3
3
3
7
5
5
32
33

District
6
7
0
1.9

3
1.9

4
1.9

5
0.6

3.2

1.9

4.8

9.6

12

7.2

12

7.2

12

12

2
4
3
3
1.8
7
4

2.4
1.2
3
3
3
4.2
5

3.0
1.8
3
3
5.6
0
4.0

0
5
0
4.8
0
3
0

2.5

25
37

35
29

30
11

23
41

7.2

8
0

10
0

11

12
3.8

0.6

1.9

6.4

1.9

2.4
7.2

3.5
3.0
2.4
4.0

22

0.8
0.8
3
3
0
2.4
0

1
0
2.5
3
3

7.2
1
2.4
3
3
0
1.8
4

7.2
12
3
3
7

9.6
4
2.4
3
3
3
4.2
4

8
24

12
29

18
27

30
34

30
31

8
4.9

9
3.5

10
4.9

11
7

12
7

(b) General System


Type of
Distress
Block and
Transverse
Cracking
Edge
Cracking
Longitudinal
Cracking
Raveling
Rutting
Wheel
Track
Cracking
Crack
Sealing
Deficiency
ALL

Milling

District
6
7
4.9
5

w/o

1
3.5

2
4.9

3
7

4
7

5
7

with

3.5

2.8

4.9

4.9

2.8

w/o
with
w/o
with
w/o
with
w/o
with
w/o

1
1.8
2.4
2.5
3
3
3
3
3

1.8
1
3.5
2.5
3
3
3
2.4
4.2

2.5
3.5
3.5
2.5
3
3
4.2
4.2
7.3

2.5
2.5
3.5
3.5
3
4.8
3
3
5.2

2.5
2.5
2.5
2.5
3
3
3
4.2
4.2

2.5
2.5
2.5
2.5
3
3
3
3
4.2

1.8
1.8
3
2.5
3
3
3
3
3

1
1.8
2.5
2
3
3
3
2.4
3

2
2
1.8
1.4
3
3
3
0
3

2.5
1.8
1.4
2.4
3
3
1.8
3
5.2

1.8
1.8
1.8
2.4
3
3
2.4
3
5.2

with

4.2

5.2

4.8

5.2

5.2

4.2

5.2

w/o

with

2.5

2.5

w/o
with

23
23

29
18

37
35

35
32

32
32

26
28

27
25

26
23

23
18

24
31

32
32

30
17

17

2.5
2.5
1.2
3
3
3
1.8
4.2

(a) Priority System Thin Overlays constructed between 1990 and 1998
Percent
Mileage

Intermediate Transverse Cracks (Jointed Base)


100.00

Prior

50.00

(3.2)

8th Year
E

HE

HF

HO

ME

MF

MO

LE

LF

LO

NULL

0.00

Joint Reflection Cracks (Jointed Base)

(9.6)
50.00

Prior

(7.2)

8th Year
E

HE

HF

HO

ME

MF

MO

LE

LF

LO

0.00
NULL

Percent
Mileage

100.00

Longitudinal Cracking

(2.4)

50.00

Percent
Mileage

Prior

(3)

(4)

8th Year
E

HE

HF

HO

Ravelling

(3)

100.00

ME

MF

MO

LE

LF

LO

0.00
NULL

Percent
Mileage

100.00

Prior

50.00

8th Year
E

HE

HF

HO

ME

MF

MO

LE

LF

LO

NULL

0.00

Percent
Mileage

Rutting
100.00

(7)

(3)

50.00

Prior
8th Year
E

HE

HF

HO

ME

MF

MO

LE

LF

LO

NULL

0.00

Percent
Mileage

Crack Sealing Deficiency


100.00

(5)

50.00

Prior

(2.5) (4)

8th Year
E

HE

HF

HO

ME

MF

MO

LE

LF

LO

NULL

0.00

Figure 3(a): Average Distress Levels Prior to and 8 Years after Thin Overlay
(Numbers in parenthesis indicate the corresponding deduct Value)

18

(b) General System Thin Overlays constructed between 1990 and 1998
Percent
Mileage

Edge Cracking
100.00

Prior
50.00

(7)

8th Year

(10)
E

HE

HF

HO

ME

MF

MO

LE

LF

LO

NULL

0.00

Percent
Mileage

Longitudinal Cracking
100.00

Prior

(3.5/3)

50.00

8th Year

(5)
E

HE

HF

HO

ME

MF

MO

LE

LF

LO

NULL

0.00

(3)
Prior

50.00

(6)
E

HE

HF

HO

8th Year
ME

MF

MO

LE

LF

0.00

LO

(3)
NULL

Percent
Mileage

Ravelling
100.00

Rutting

(3)

50.00

HE

HF

HO

ME

MF

MO

LE

LF

LO

0.00

Prior

(7)

8th Year
NULL

Percent
Mileage

100.00

Prior

50.00

8th Year

Crack Sealing Deficiency

(5)

100.00

Prior

50.00

8th Year

(2.5) (4)
E

HE

HF

HO

ME

MF

MO

LE

LF

LO

0.00
NULL

Percent
Mileage

HE

HF

HO

ME

MF

MO

LE

LF

0.00

LO

(5.25) (7.35)
NULL

Percent
Mileage

Wheel Track Cracking


100.00

Figure 3(b): Average Distress Levels Prior to and 8 Years after Thin Overlay
(Numbers in parenthesis indicate the corresponding deduct Value)

19

Percent
Mileage

Intermediate Transverse Cracks (Jointed Base) - Without Milling (Priority System)


100

Prior
50

8th Year
E

HE

HF

HO

ME

MF

MO

LE

LF

LO

NULL

Percent
Mileage

Intermediate Transverse Cracks (Jointed Base) - With Milling (Priority System)


100

Prior
50

8th Year
E

HE

HF

HO

ME

MF

MO

LE

LF

LO

NULL

Percent
Mileage

Joint Reflection Cracks (Jointed Base) - Without Milling (Priority System)


100

Prior
50

8th Year
E

HE

HF

HO

ME

MF

MO

LE

LF

LO

NULL

Joint Reflection Cracks (Jointed Base) - With Milling (Priority System)

Percent
Mileage

100

Prior
50

8th Year
E

HE

HF

HO

ME

MF

MO

LE

LF

LO

NULL

Longitudinal Cracking - Without Milling (General System)

Percent
Mileage

100

Prior

50

8th Year
E

HE

HF

HO

ME

MF

MO

LE

LF

LO

NULL

Longitudinal Cracking - With Milling (General System)

Percent
Mileage

100

Prior

50

8th Year
E

HE

HF

HO

ME

MF

MO

LE

LF

LO

NULL

Figure 3(c): Effect of Milling on Average Distress Levels Prior to and 8 Years
after Thin Overlay constructed between 1990 and 1998

20

Actual Service Life of Terminated Thin Overlay


The actual service lives of terminated thin overlays, i.e., those thin overlays that have been
replaced by a subsequent minor rehabilitation or another thin overlay treatment, vary widely.
Figure 4 shows the distributions of actual service lives of thin overlays on Priority and General
Systems, respectively.
The typical actual service life of Priority system thin overlays is between 4 and 9 years, with an
average life of 6.6 years. The typical actual service life of General system thin overlays is
between 6 and 12 years, with an average life of 9.1 years.
Figure 5 shows that the actual service lives of thin overlays performed on flexible pavements
are longer than those on composite pavements. This is particularly true for Priority system thin
overlays. The median actual life of Priority system thin overlays on flexible pavements is 8
years, while on composite pavements, its 6 years.
The average actual lives of thin overlays in each District are shown in Figure 6. The average
lives for most Districts are not significantly different from the statewide average values.
Priority system thin overlays in District 9 have the longest average service life of nearly 10
years, while General system thin overlays in District 12 have the longest average life of nearly
12 years. However, comparing the actual service lives can be misleading, as the condition at
which a thin overlay is replaced can be very different. A thin overlay may be replaced at a very
poor condition resulting in a long actual service life, whereas another pavement may be
replaced at a much better condition, resulting in a shorter actual life. Therefore, the length of
actual service life may not fully reflect the performance of a thin overlay.
Figure 7 shows the terminal PCR score, i.e., the PCR score at which a thin overlay was
replaced by the next treatment, varies significantly among Districts. Statewide, the average
terminal PCR score for Priority system thin overlays is 73, and for General system thin
overlays, 69. General System thin overlays in District 12 have the lowest terminal PCR scores
of mostly below 60, indicating that the long actual service lives in this District are simply due
to not replacing the thin overlays until the pavements are in very poor condition.
21

200

Mileage vs. Actual Service Life Distribution of all Terminated Thin Overlay Projects
in Priority System

180

Total Miles = 1030.1


No. of Sections = 507
No. of Projects = 135
Mean () = 6.6 years
STDev () = 2.7 years

160

Mileage

140
120
100

``

80
60
40
20
0
1

10

11

12

13

14

15

Actual Service Life (in Years)

(a) Priority System

Mileage vs. Actual Service Life Distribution of all Terminated Thin Overlay Projects
in General System
600

Total Miles = 4075.2


No. of Sections = 1923
No. of Projects = 764
Mean () = 9.1 years
STDev () = 3.0 years

500

Mileage

400
300
200
100
0
1

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

Actual Service Life (in Years)

(b) General System

Figure 4: Actual Service Lives Distribution of Terminated Thin Overlay Projects

22

Actual Service Life by Pavement Type in Priority System


14

Actual Service Life

12
10
8
6
4
2
0
Flexible

Composite
Pavement Type

(a) Priority System

Actual Service Life by Pavement Type in General System


14

Actual Service Life

12
10
8
6
4
2
0
Flexible

Composite
Pavement Type

(b) General System


Figure 5: Actual Service Life as a Function of Pavement Type

23

Thin Overlay Actual Service Life by District in Priority System

Average Actual Service Life


(in Years)

15

10

0
1

6
7
Districts

10

11

12

Priority System

(a) Priority System

Thin Overlay Actual Service Life by District in General System

Average Actual Service Life


(in Years)

15

10

0
1

6
7
Districts

10

11

12

General System

(b) General System

Figure 6: Average Service Life of Terminated Thin Overlays in Each District

24

Priority System Terminal PCR of Terminated Projects by District


100

Terminal PCR

90

80

70

60

50

40
1

6
7
District

10

11

12

(a) Priority System

General System Terminal PCR of Terminated Projects by District


100

Terminal PCR

90

80

70

60

50

40
1

6
7
District

10

11

12

(b) General System

Figure 7: Terminal PCR of Terminated Thin Overlay Projects in Each District

25

II. Cost Effectiveness of Thin Overlays

In order to evaluate the cost effectiveness of thin overlays accurately, it is necessary to project
the thin overlay performance to a uniform terminal PCR. The terminal PCR threshold value for
Priority system pavements is 65, while the terminal PCR threshold value for General system
pavements is 60, which was raised from 55 recently. If the measured PCR deterioration trend
ends above the terminal threshold, the deterioration trend is projected to the terminal threshold,
using the Markov prediction model developed in a separate research study. The expected
service life of a pavement is defined as the time from the end of construction till the actual or
predicted PCR score falls below the threshold value.

Figure 8 shows the statewide average deterioration trends of thin overlays and minor
rehabilitation for Priority and General System pavements. Based on a terminal PCR threshold
of 65, the expected service life of a Priority System thin overlay is 9 years, while a Priority
system minor rehabilitation is expected to last 12 years. For the General System, based on a
terminal PCR threshold of 60, the expected service life of a thin overlay is 13 years, and of a
minor rehabilitation, around 14 years.

The Extension of Service Life Due to a Thin Overlay


The expected time extensions of service lives due to the performance of a thin overlay are
shown in Figures 9 and 10. Figure 9 shows that Priority System thin overlays, on average,
extend the expected service life of an existing pavement by about 7.5 years, with a standard
deviation of 3.4 years. Figure 10 shows that General System thin overlays extend the expected
service life of an existing pavement by an average of 10.7 years, with a standard deviation of
3.8 years.

The actual time extension of service lives varies widely from the average values as evidenced
by the rather high standard deviation values, and as shown in Figures 9 and 10.

26

Statewide PCR Family Curves - Priority System


100
95

Minor Rehab

Thin Overlay

90

PCR

85
80
75
70

Line of
Threshold PCR

65
60
55
50

0 1 2

3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Age (in Years)

(a) Priority System

Statewide PCR Family Curves - General System


100
95

Minor Rehab

Thin Overlay

90

PCR

85
80
75
70
65
60

Line of
Threshold PCR

55
50
0

1 2

3 4

5 6

7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Age (in Years)

(b) General System


Figure 8: Average Performance Trends of Minor Rehabilitation and Thin Overlay

27

Distribution of x1
Mileage

300

No. of Sections = 820


Total Miles = 1679.85
Mean () = 8.1 years
Stdev () = 6.0 years

200
100
0
1

9 10 11 12
Time (in Years)

13

14

15

16

17

18

20

(a) Age of Existing Pavement at the Time of Thin Overlay, x1


Distribution of x2
Mileage

300
No. of Sections = 820
Total Miles = 1679.85
Mean () = 9.0 years
Stdev () = 3.9 years

200
100
0
0

8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Time (in Years)

(b) Service Life of Thin Overlay, x2

Mileage

Distribution of x3
200
150
100
50
0

No. of Sections = 820


Total Miles = 1679.85
Mean () = 8.5 years
Stdev () = 6.0 years

8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 21
Time (in Years)

(c) Service Life If Thin Overlay Was Not Performed, x3


Distribution of Time Extension (t)
Mileage

300
No. of Sections = 820
Total Miles = 1679.85
Mean () = 7.5 years
Stdev () = 3.4 years

200
100
0
0

7
8
9 10
Time (in Years)

11

12

13

14

15

16

(d) Time Extension, t


Figure 9: Time Extension (t) of Thin Overlays on Priority System

28

18

Distribution of x1
Mileage

1000

No. of Sections = 2870


Total Miles = 6173.19
Mean () = 8.1 years
Stdev () = 4.9 years

500
0
1

9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Time (in Years)

(a) Age of Existing Pavement at the Time of Thin Overlay, x1

Mileage

Distribution of x2
1000
800
600
400
200
0

No. of Sections = 2870


Total Miles = 6173.19
Mean () = 13.1 years
Stdev () = 3.6 years

9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
Time (in Years)

(b) Service Life of Thin Overlay, x2


Distribution of x3
Mileage

800
No. of Sections = 2870
Total Miles = 6173.19
Mean () = 9.7 years
Stdev () = 5.2 years

600
400
200
0
0

8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Time (in Years)

(c) Service Life if Thin Overlay Was Not Performed, x3

Mileage

Distribution of Time Extension (t)


1000
800
600
400
200
0

No. of Sections = 2870


Total Miles = 6173.19
Mean () = 10.7 years
Stdev () = 3.8 years

8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Time (in Years)

(d) Time Extension, t


Figure 10: Time Extension (t) of Thin Overlays on General System

29

The Performance (Area under the PCR-Age Curve) of Thin Overlay


The performance of a thin overlay is defined by the area between the PCR versus Age curve
and the terminal PCR threshold line. For example, Figure 11 shows the performance area for
an actual General System thin overlay section. The shaded area is the performance of the thin
overlay.
The performance of a thin overlay can be influenced by many parameters. One of the most
important parameters is the condition of the existing pavement prior to the thin overlay. Figure
12 shows that thin overlay performance increases with better existing pavement condition, i.e.,
higher PCR prior, especially on Priority System pavements. Table 4 shows that thin overlays
were performed on pavements with various Prior PCR scores, from below 55 to nearly 90.

Thin Overlay Performance


County LUC; Route 024R; Station UP; Elog 0; Blog 1.11
100
Minor
Minor (Predicted)
Thin Overlay
Thin Overlay (Predicted)

PCR

90

80

70

60
1993

1995

1997

1999

2001

2003
Year

2005

2007

2009

2011

Figure 11: Definition of Thin Overlay Performance

30

Priority System (Threshold PCR = 65) Thin Overlays Performance


Area Under Curve Distribution
350
300

Performance
(PCR-Year)

250
200
150
100
50
0
0-55

56-60

61-65

66-70

71-75

76-80

81-85

86-90

PCRPrior

(a) Priority System

General System (Threshold PCR = 60) Thin Overlays Performance


Area Under Curve Distribution
600

Performance
(PCR-Year)

500
400
300
200
100
0
56-60

61-65

66-70

71-75

76-80

81-85

86-90

PCRPrior

(b) General System

Figure 12: Effect of Existing Pavement Condition on Thin Overlay Performance

31

Table 4: Number of Thin Overlay Sections in Various Prior PCR Ranges


No. of Thin Overlay Sections in each Prior-PCR Range

Priority
P
G

0-55
58
584

56-60
84
754

61-65
160
954

66-70
185
1136

71-75
206
1012

76-80
125
539

81-85
101
282

86-90
31
150

Figure 13 shows that PCR scores prior to thin overlays vary significantly among Districts.
Districts 1, 5 and 9 performed most of their thin overlays on pavements with an exiting PCR of
between 70 and 85. In contrast, some Districts often perform thin overlay treatments when the
prior PCR scores are below 70 or even below 60.
This high variation of prior PCR scores among Districts can be attributed to both the variation
of pavement performance and conditions among Districts and differences in District
maintenance policy. For General System thin overlays, the prior PCR scores shown in Figure
13 are similar to the terminal PCR scores shown in Figure 7 for most Districts, because thin
overlays are routinely followed by another thin overlay treatment on General System
pavements. However, the pattern is different for Priority system pavements, as thin overlays
are usually not repeated. If the thin overlays were performed as a preventive maintenance
treatment, the terminal PCR score would be lower than the PCR score; such is the case in
District 1. However, in other Districts, thin overlays were often performed as a way to
postpone the next rehabilitation, and were replaced at a relatively early age. As a result, the
terminal PCR is higher than the Prior PCR.

Thin overlays that were constructed on pavements with better existing conditions have better
performance; therefore, they likely have higher terminal PCR scores when replaced by the next
treatment, say, seven to nine years later. This becomes a positive, upward cycle for those
Districts that do not have a large backlog of poor pavements, and can afford to maintain and
rehabilitated their pavements in a timely manner.

Figure 14 shows the average thin overlay performance in each District.

32

Priority System Prior PCR by District


100

90

Prior PCR

80

70

60

50

40
1

6
7
District

10

11

12

10

11

12

(a) Priority System


General System Prior PCR by District
100

90

Prior PCR

80

70

60

50

40
1

6
7
District

(b) General System


Figure 13: Prior PCR Range in Each District

33

Thin Overlay Performance by District


Average Area Under Curve

Average Performance
(PCR-Year)

250
200
150
100
50
0
1

6
District

10

11

12

Priority System - PCR Threshold = 65

(a) Priority System

Thin Overlay Performance by District


Average Area Under Curve
400
Average Performance
(PCR-Year)

350
300
250
200
150
100
50
0
1

6
District

General System - PCR Threshold = 55

10

11

12

General System - PCR Threshold = 60

(b) General System


Figure 14: Average Thin Overlay Performance in each District

34

Figure 15 shows that the amount of annual snowfall adversely affects thin overlay performance.
This climate parameter contributes, at least partially, to the above average performance in
Districts 8, 9, and 10 and the below average performance in Districts 3, 4, and 12.

The overlay performance is also influenced by overlay thickness. However, for thin overlays,
the thickness ranges only from 1 to 2 inches, with a majority of the thin overlays having a
thickness of 1.5 inches or higher. Figure 16 shows that the proportions of different thin overlay
thicknesses vary significantly among Districts. For example, on the Priority System, most of
the 1.75-inch overlays were performed by District 7. District 2 performs mostly 1.5-inch
overlays, while District 10 performs mostly 2-inch overlays.

Figure 17 shows that greater thickness corresponds to a slight increase in performance. The
effect of thickness is likely confounded with other parameters, such as the Prior PCR. As
shown, 1.75-inch Priority System thin overlays perform poorly, but they are mostly in District
7, where the median prior PCR of its Priority System thin overlay is 66, below the statewide
average.

Figure 18 shows that Priority System thin overlay performance does not appear to correlate
with traffic loadings. However, the performance of General System thin overlays decreases at
high traffic loading level of annual ESAL above 200,000 (log ESAL greater than 5.5).

Table 5 shows that most of the General System pavements are in the low to medium traffic
loading levels (log ESAL below 5.5).

Table 5: Number of Thin Overlay Sections in Different Traffic Loading Levels


Priority
P
G

No. of Pavement Sections in Each Traffic Loading Range


(log ESAL)
0-4.4
4.5-4.9 5.0-5.4 5.5-5.9 6.0-6.4 6.5-8.0
67
237
441
227
1323
1960
1576
590
157
12

35

Priority System (Threshold PCR = 65) Thin Overlays Performance


Area Under Curve Distribution
300
250

Performance
(PCR-Year)

200
150
100
50
0
15-21

n = 230

22-28

n = 378

29-35
Snowfall (inches)

36-42

n = 101

n = 84

43-99

n = 197

(a) Priority System

General System (Threshold PCR = 60) Thin Overlays Performance


Area Under Curve Distribution
400
350

Performance
(PCR-Year)

300
250
200
150
100
50
0
15-21

n = 1081

22-28

n = 2531

29-35
Snowfall (inches)

n = 1055

36-42

n = 567

43-99

n = 389

(b) General System


Figure 15: Effect of Snowfall on General System Thin Overlay Performance

36

Thickness Added-Mileage by District in Priority System


400
2

Mileage

350

1.75

300

1.5

250

1.25
1

200
150
100
50
0
1

6
7
District

10

11

12

(a) Priority System

Thickness Added-Mileage by District in General System


1400
2
1200

1.75
1.5

Mileage

1000

1.25

800

600
400
200
0
1

6
7
District

10

11

12

(b) General System


Figure 16: Proportions of Thin Overlay Thickness in Each District

37

Priority System (Threshold PCR = 65) Thin Overlays Performance


Area Under Curve Distribution
350
300

Performance
(PCR-Year)

250
200
150
100
50
0
1.25

1.5

1.75

Thickness Added

n = 122

n = 464

n = 111

n = 222

(a) Priority System

General System (Threshold PCR = 60) Thin Overlays Performance


Area Under Curve Distribution
450

Performance (PCR-Year

400
350
300
250
200
150
100
50
0
1

1.25

1.5

1.75

Thickness Added

n = 275

n = 488

n = 2077

n = 1169

n = 1513

(b) General System


Figure 17: Effect of Overlay Thickness on Thin Overlay Performance

38

Priority Syste m (Thre shold PCR = 65) Thin Ove rlays Pe rformance
Are a Unde r Curve Dis tribution
350
300

(PCR-Year)

Performance

250
200
150
100
50
0
5.0-5.4

n = 67

5.5-5.9
6.0-6.4
log(Ave rage ESAL)

n = 237
n = 441
(a) Priority System

6.5-8.0

n = 227

General System (Threshold PCR = 60) Thin Overlays Performance


Area Under Curve Distribution
400
350

Performance
(PCR-Year)

300
250
200
150
100
50
0
0-4.4

n = 1323

4.5-4.9

n = 1960

5.0-5.4
log(Average ESAL)

n = 1576

5.5-5.9

n = 590

6.0-6.4

n = 157

(b) General System


Figure 18: Effect of Traffic Loading on Thin Overlay Performance

39

Figure 19 shows that the average statewide thin overlay performance has improved
significantly since the earlier 1990s, likely due to improved material specifications and
construction quality. The performance improvement is particularly pronounced for Priority
System thin overlays, although General System thin overlay performance has also been
improving steadily. Another reason for the dramatic improvement in the performance of thin
overlays on the Priority system could be ODOTs move to designed overlays in 1985. If the
project went through the 4-lane/Intertate rehabilitation program and received a thin overlay,
them the dynaflect measurements indicated a thin overlay was structurally ok. Pavement in bad
condition structurally would not have received a thin overlay.

Because of the significant performance improvements in recent years, only thin overlays
constructed after 1994 were included in the subsequent analysis for cost effectiveness
determination.

Table 6 below shows the number of thin overlay projects and mileage

constructed between 1994 and 2002. These data were used in the subsequent analysis.

Table 6: Thin Overlay Projects Constructed during 1994-2002


Priority
No. of
Thin
Overlay
Project
1
5
2
5
3
5
4
9
5
14
6
22
7
12
8
11
9
3
10
8
11
8
12
12
Statewide
114
District

General

Miles
77.3
30.7
47.8
57.4
102
285.2
139.6
161.3
4.3
40.8
76.9
82.7
1105.90

40

No. of
Thin
Overlay
Project
80
37
60
60
30
74
160
53
51
100
91
21
817

Miles
557.3
232.1
400.6
389.9
310.4
669.4
810.9
387.8
293
842.1
694.4
85.5
5673.4

Average Performance Trend by Year of Construction in


Priority System (Threshold PCR = 65)

Average Performance

200

150

100

50

0
0

1991-1993
1

1994-1996
1997-1999
2
3
Year of Construction

2000-2002
4

(a) Priority System

Average Performance Trend by Year of Construction in


General System

400
Average Performance

350
300
250
200
150
100
50
0
0

1991-1993
0.5
1

1994-1996
1997-1999
1.5
2
2.5
3
Year of Construction

General (Threshold PCR=60)

2000-2002
3.5
4

4.5

General (Threshold PCR=55)

(b) General System

Figure 19: Average Performance as a Function of Year of Construction

41

The Benefit of Thin Overlay


The benefit of a thin overlay may be defined as the part of the thin overlay performance area
that would not exist if not for the construction of the thin overlay. In other words, the benefit
of a thin overlay is the performance area of the thin overlay minus the residual performance
area of the existing pavement. Figure 20 illustrates the benefit of a thin overlay according to
the above definition with the shaded area represents the thin overlay benefit.
The benefit of a thin overlay is influenced by both the thin overlay performance and the timing
of thin overlay construction. As shown earlier, thin overlays that are constructed early (i.e.,
with higher prior PCR) tend to have better performance, but more of the performance area is
attributed to the residual performance of the existing pavement.
Figure 21 shows the average performance and benefit as a function of the existing pavement
condition (prior PCR). The benefit is identical to the performance when the existing pavement
condition is at or below the terminal PCR threshold.

Figure 22 shows the prior cracking

deduct values adversely affect thin overlay performance and benefit.

Thin Overlay Benefit


County LUC; Route 024R; Station UP; Elog 0; Blog 1.11
100
Minor
Minor (Predicted)
Thin Overlay
Thin Overlay (Predicted)

PCR

90

80

70

60
1993

1995

1997

1999

2001

2003

2005

2007

2009

Year

Figure 20: Definition of Thin Overlay Benefit

42

2011

Thin Overlay Performance vs. Benefit in Priority System

Average Area under the Curve


(PCR-Year)

250

200

150

100

50

0
55

60

65

70

75
PCRPrior

80

Benefit

85

90

95

Performance

(a) Priority System

Thin Overlay Performance vs. Benefit for General System


(Threshold PCR = 60)

Average Area under the Curve


(PCR-Year)

300
250
200
150
100
50
0
55

60

65

70

75
PCRPrior

80

Benefit

85

90

95

Performance

(b) General System


Figure 21: Average Performance and Benefit as a Function of Prior PCR

43

Thin Overlay Performance vs. Benefit in Priority System


(Threshold PCR = 65)

Average Area under the Curve


(PCR-Year)

250

200

150

100

50

0
0

10
15
20
Prior Cracking Deduct

Benefit

25

30

Performance

(a) Priority System

Thin Overlay Performance vs. Benefit for General System


(Threshold PCR = 60)

Average Area under the Curve


(PCR-Year)

300
250
200
150
100
50
0
0

10

15
20
25
Prior Cracking Deduct

Benefit

30

35

40

Performance

(b) General System


Figure 22: Average Performance and Benefit as a Function of Prior Cracking
Deduct

44

In addition to correcting surface deficiencies and reducing the rate of condition deterioration, a
thin overlay also improves the ride quality of the existing pavement. The ride quality of a
pavement is measured by the International Roughness Index (IRI) in inches/mile or m/km.
Higher IRI means poorer ride quality.

Figure 23 shows the average IRI values before and after a thin overlay on flexible and on
composite pavements. It can be seen from this figure that the ride condition improves (i.e., the
IRI value decreases) immediately following the thin overlay, and the ride condition gradually
deteriorates (as the IRI value gradually increases) as the thin overlay ages.

For flexible pavements in both the Priority and General Systems, the improvement of ride
quality due to a thin overlay is very significant, as it takes nearly 16 years, on average, for the
IRI of the overlaid pavement to return to the same IRI level prior to the thin overlay. For
Priority System composite pavements, the average time is less than 7 years; and for General
System composite pavements, its about 11 years.

It can be concluded that the benefit of a thin overlay, in terms of improved ride condition, is
very substantial for flexible pavements. Even for Priority System composite pavements, a thin
overlay provides, on average, nearly 7 years of ride condition improvement compared with the
ride condition before the thin overlay. Note that the average actual service life of thin overlays
on Priority System pavements is also approximately 7 years.

The benefits of condition and ride improvements are not combined in this study, as the
maintenance and rehabilitation decisions are mostly driven by the pavement condition alone,
and the two have different characteristics and units. However, the above analysis on ride
quality before and after thin overlays shows that thin overlays provide comparable
improvements to the pavement distress condition as well as ride quality.

45

Priority System
160
140

Average IRI

120

Average Prior IRI

100
80
60
40
20
0
0

10

12

14

16

Age (in Years)

18

Flexible

20
Composite

(a) Priority System

General System
180
Average Prior IRI Flexible

160

Average IRI

140
120
100
Average Prior IRI Composite

80
60
40
20
0
0

10

12

Age (in Years)

14

16

Flexible

18

20
Composite

(b) General System


Figure 23: Average Ride Quality Deterioration Trend of Thin Overlay

46

Cost Analysis

Average Unit Cost of Thin Overlays

Thirteen (13) Priority system thin overlay projects completed between 2001 and 2007 were
included in the analysis. The average project length was 5.07 centerline miles (or 20.26 lane
miles). The overlay thicknesses were 1.5, 1.75, or 2 inches, with an average thickness of 1.65
inches. The average weighted by length unit cost was $58,856 per lane-mile (when not
weighted by length the unit cost was $64,376 per lane mile). The weighted by length unit cost
is lower than the straight average cost per mile, because shorter projects generally have higher
unit costs than longer projects.

Ninety three (93) General system thin overlay projects completed between 2003 and 2007 were
included in the analysis. The average project length was 4.98 centerline miles (or 9.96 lane
miles). The overlay thickness was also between 1.5 and 2 inches, with an average thickness of
1.79 inches. The weighted by length unit cost was $53,995 per lane-mile (the unit cost
averaged across all projects is $57,422 per lane-mile).

Average Unit Cost of Minor Rehabilitation

Ten minor rehabilitation (regular overlay with or without repair) projects on Priority system
routes completed between 2006 and 2007 were included. The average project length was 5.04
centerline miles, and the weighted by length average unit cost was $163,709 (when not
weighted by length, the average cost was $164,061) per lane-mile. The overlay thickness was
between 2.25 inches and 4.5 inches, with an average thickness of 2.92 inches. The planning
depth was between zero and 4.5 inches, with an average depth of 2.13 inches.

Eighteen minor rehabilitation projects on General system routes completed between 2005 and
2007 were included. The average project length was 10.23 centerline miles, and the weighted
by length average unit cost was $90,952 per lane-mile. The overlay thickness was between
2.25 inches and 3.75 inches. The planning depth ranges between zero and 3.25 inches.

47

Therefore, for Priority system pavements, the unit cost of a typical thin overlay project is only
about 40% (36%) of the average minor rehabilitation unit cost ($58,856 versus $163,709) per
lane-mile). For General system pavements, the unit cost of thin overlay is approximately 60%
(59.4%) of the minor rehabilitation unit cost ($53,995 versus $90,952).

For the cost effectiveness determination, the cost of a Priority System thin overlay project is
assumed to be 40% of the cost of a minor rehabilitation project. For General System thin
overlays, the cost is assumed to be 60% of the minor rehabilitation.

Cost Effectiveness Determination

For the Performance Area method, the cost effectiveness of a thin overlay is determined by the
Benefit-Cost (B/C) ratio using equation 3. If the benefit cost ratio is greater than one, the thin
overlay is deemed cost effective, otherwise it is not.

For the Time Extension method, the cost effectiveness is determined by comparing the
equivalent annual cost (EAC) of a thin overlay versus that of a minor rehabilitation. If the EAC
of a thin overlay is less than a minor rehabilitation, the thin overlay is considered as cost
effective.

The cost effectiveness measures of both methods depend on the relative benefit of a thin
overlay versus that of a minor rehabilitation. The benefit of a minor rehabilitation is assumed
to be equal to the entire performance area under the PCR-Age curve above the terminal PCR
threshold.

Figure 24 shows the average benefit of thin overlays and minor rehabilitations in each District.

48

Average Benefit of Thin Overlay and Minor Rehab in


Priority System (Threshold PCR = 65)

300

Thin Overlay Benefit

Average Benefit

250

Minor Rehab Benefit

200
150
100
50
0
1

6
7
District

10

11

12

(a) Priority System

Average Benefit of Thin Overlay and Minor Rehab in


General System (Threshold PCR = 60)

400
350

Thin Overlay Benefit

Average Benefit

Minor Rehab Benefit

300
250
200
150
100
50
0
1

6
7
District

10

11

12

(b) General System


Figure 24: Average Benefit of Thin Overlay and Minor Rehabilitation in Each
District

49

The cost-effectiveness measures based on both methods were calculated for every thin overlay
pavement section.

The two methods do not always produce the same conclusions.

For

example, Figure 25 shows an actual thin overlay where the time extension till the terminal
condition due to the thin overlay was about 7 years, making it cost effective, but the benefit
based on increased performance area is less than 60% of the performance area of a minor
rehabilitation, therefore its considered not cost effective by the performance area method.
This is due to the highly concaved shape of the performance curve and the poor performance
of the thin overlay, as this thin overlay was performed on a very poor pavement.

Figure 26 shows a case where the thin overlay was determined to be not cost-effective by the
time extension method, but cost-effective by the performance area method. Figure 27 shows a
case where both methods determined the thin overlay to be not cost effective. The prior to thin
overlay PCR value was 82. Performing thin overlay on pavements that are still in very good
condition will not produce either significant extension of service life or improved condition or
ride to justify the cost.

Figure 28 shows a case where both methods determined the thin overlay to be cost effective.
The prior to thin overlay PCR value was 60. Although the thin overlay was performed on a
pavement with a poor existing condition, the thin overlay performed well and extended the
service life by about 12 years.

It can be seen that the time extension method considers thin overlays that are performed on
pavements with a poorer existing condition to be more cost-effective, as these thin overlays
tend to stretch the time till the next required rehabilitation the most. The time extension method
does not consider how well a thin overlay performs during its service life. Yet, thin overlays
performed on pavements with fair to good conditions can be cost effective based on the area
under the performance curve method, as long as thin overlays provide sufficiently improved
PCR conditions.

Therefore, the results from the performance area method were used to

represent the cost effectiveness of thin overlays. Figure 29 shows the average benefit-cost ratio
in each District.

50

Performance/Benefit (Area under the Curve)


District 7; County MOT; Priority System; Route 035R;
Blog 15.46; Elog 16.7; PN 318-01

Prior Treatment

95

PCR

ThinOverlay
Minor Rehab
85

75

Time Extension

65
1996

2001

2006

2011

2016

Year

Figure 25: Cost Effective by the Time-Extension Method but Not-Cost Effective
by the Performance Area Method

Performance/Benefit (Area under the Curve)


District 1; County ALL; General System; Route 066R;
Blog 2.45; Elog 10.58; PN 51-93

100
Prior Treatment
ThinOverlay
Minor Rehab

PCR

90

80

70

Time Extension
60
1986

1990

1994

1998

2002
Year

2006

2010

2014

2018

Figure 26: Not Cost Effective by the Time-Extension Method but Cost Effective
by Performance Area Method

51

Performance/Benefit (Area under the Curve)


District 3; County MED; Priority System; Route 076R;
Blog 9.08; Elog 12.03; PN 536-97

95

Prior Treatment
ThinOverlay
Minor Rehab

PCR

85

Time Extension

75

65
1994

1998

2002

2006

2010

2014

Year

Figure 27: Not Cost Effective by Either Method

Performance/Benefit (Area under the Curve)


District 6; County FAY; General System; Route 041R;
Blog 0; Elog 10.83; PN 255-03
100
Prior Treatment
ThinOverlay
Minor Rehab

PCR

90

80

Time Extension
70

60
1993

1997

2001

2005

Year

2009

2013

Figure 28: Cost Effective by Both Methods

52

2017

Thin Overlay Benefit-Cost Ratio


Priority System (40% of Minor Cost)

Average Benefit-Cost Ratio

3
2.5
2
1.5
1
0.5
0
1

6
7
District

10

11

12

Priority System (Threshold PCR =65)

(a) Priority System

Thin Overlay Benefit-Cost Ratio


General System (60% of Minor Cost)

Average Benefit-Cost Ratio

2.5
2
1.5
1
0.5
0
1

6
District

General System (Threshold PCR =55)

10

11

12

General System (Threshold PCR =60)

(b) General System

Figure 29: Average Benefit-Cost Ratio of Thin Overlays in Each District

53

As mentioned earlier, the average performance of thin overlays has improved significantly
since the early 1990s. This is also reflected in the cost-effectiveness. Figure 30 shows that a
significantly higher percentage of the thin overlays constructed after 1994 are deemed cost
effective than thin overlays constructed earlier.

Figure 31 shows that the percentage of thin overlays that are cost effective also vary among
Districts. District 9 has performed very few thin overlays on its Priority System pavements.
Statewide, most of the thin overlays performed since 1994 are considered cost effective.

Statewide, 87% of the Priority System thin overlays and 81% of the General System thin
overlays constructed between 1994 and 2002 were deemed cost effective by the performance
area method. Note this result is based on the average thin overlay project cost being 40% of the
average minor rehabilitation project cost on Priority System pavements and 60% on General
System pavements. The average cost of a thin overlay is significantly less than the average
cost of a minor rehabilitation, not only because of reduced material costs, but because a thin
overlay can be performed more quickly. Therefore, thin overlays require far lower costs in
maintaining the existing traffic flow. This is particularly significant in urban, high traffic,
areas.

Individual project cost will likely vary from the average cost. Therefore, the cost effectiveness
of a particular thin overlay project will be dependent upon the actual project cost. Figure 32
shows that as the ratio of a thin overlay cost versus a minor rehabilitation cost increases, the
cost effectiveness decreases. However, despite the rapidly increasing construction costs in
recent years, this cost ratio is likely to remain fairly stable, because any construction cost
changes are likely to affect both thin overlays and minor rehabilitations in similar ways.

54

700

Cost Effective and Not Cost Effective Mileages in Priority System


(Threshold PCR = 65)
by Year of Construction
Cost Effective
Not Cost Effective

600

Mileage

500
400
300
200
100
0
1991-1993

1994-1996

1997-1999

2000-2002

Year of Construction

(a) Priority System

3000
2500

Cost Effective and Not Cost Effective Mileages in General System


(Threshold PCR = 60)
by Year of Construction
Cost Effective
Not Cost Effective

Mileage

2000
1500
1000
500
0
1991-1993

1994-1996

1997-1999

2000-2002

Year of Construction

(b) General System

Figure 30: CE and NCE Mileage by Year of Construction

55

Cost Effective and Not Cost Effective Mileages by District in


Priority System (Threshold PCR = 65)
300
Cost Efective (B/C>=1)

250

Not Cost Efective (B/C<1)


Mileage

200
150
100
50
0
1

6
7
District

10

11

12

(a) Priority System


Cost Effective and Not Cost Effective Mileages by District in
General System (Threshold PCR = 60)
1200
Cost Efective (B/C>=1)
Not Cost Efective (B/C<1)

1000

Mileage

800
600
400
200
0
1

6
7
District

10

11

12

(b) General System

Figure 31: Cost Effectiveness of 1994-2002 Thin Overlays in Each District

56

Cost Effective Percentage

Effect of Thin Overlay Cost on Cost Effectiveness


100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

0.7

0.8

0.9

Cost Ratio = (Thin Overlay Cost / Minor Rehab Cost)


General System (Threshold PCR=60)

Priority System (Threshold PCR=65)

Figure 32: Cost Effectiveness as a function of the Ratio of Thin Overlay Cost
versus Minor Rehabilitation Cost

57

III. Criteria for Cost-Effective Thin Overlay Treatment

Based on the cost effectiveness (i.e., B/C ratio) calculated for each thin overlay section, the
criteria for selecting candidate pavements for thin overlay are determined by analyzing the
characteristics of thin overlay sections that are cost effective versus those that are not. The thin
overlay projects included in the analysis and the corresponding data are listed in Appendices D
and E.

Figure 33 shows that the cost effectiveness is influenced by the existing pavement type. This is
particularly apparent for the Priority System, where all thin overlays performed on flexible
pavements are cost effective, while approximately 80% of thin overlays on composite
pavement are cost effective.

For General System thin overlays, the difference in cost

effectiveness percentage due to pavement type is not significant.

Figure 34 shows that the Prior PCR score, which represents the existing pavement condition,
has a significant influence on the cost effectiveness (in terms of B/C ratio) of thin overlays. For
the Priority System, thin overlays are most likely to be cost effective if the existing pavements
PCR score is between 70 and 90, and for the General System, between 65 and 80. A thin
overlay may still be cost effective, if the existing pavements PCR score is outside of the above
range. However, the odds decrease.

Figure 34 also shows that when the terminal PCR threshold is raised from 55 to 60 for General
System pavements, the cost effectiveness of a thin overlay generally increases.

The above optimal PCR ranges were confirmed using the ROC (Receivers Characteristics
Curve) method as shown in Figure 35. The Prior PCR score of each thin overlay section was
used to predict the cost effectiveness. For a cost effective thin overlay, if its Prior PCR score is
within a particular range, it is counted as true positive. For a not cost effective thin overlay, if
its Prior PCR score is within the particular range, it is counted as false positive. A perfect
indicator would have true positive rate of one and false positive rate of zero.

58

Cost Effective and Not Cost Effective Mileages in Priority System


by Pavement Type
1200
1000

Cost Effective
Not Cost Effective

Mileage

800
600
400
200
0
Flexible

Pavement Type

Composite

(a) Priority System

5000

Cost Effective and Not Cost Effective Mileages in General System


by Pavement Type

Mileage

4500
4000

Cost Effective
Not Cost Effective

3500
3000
2500
2000
1500
1000
500
0
Flexible_60

Composite_60

Flexible_55

Composite_55

Pavement Type_Threshold PCR

(b) General System


Figure 33: Cost Effectiveness as a Function of Pavement Type
(Thin Overlay Constructed 1994-2002)

59

Thin Overlay Benefit-Cost Ratio


Priority System (40% of Minor Cost)

Average Benefit-Cost Ratio

3
2.5
2
1.5
1
0.5
0
55

60

65

70
75
PCRPrior

80

85

90

Priority System (Threshold PCR =65)

(a) Priority System

Thin Overlay Benefit-Cost Ratio


General System (60% of Minor Cost)
Average Benefit-Cost Ratio

2
1.8
1.6
1.4
1.2
1
`

0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
0
55

60

65

70
75
PCRPrior

General System (Threshold PCR =55)

80

85

90

General System (Threshold PCR =60)

(b) General System


Figure 34: Cost Effectiveness as a Function of Prior PCR

60

Prior PCR - Priority System

Pe

e
rf

True Positive Rate

ct
65-90

0.8
0.6

better

65-85
65-80

70-90

70-85
65-75

0.4

worse

75-90
0.2
0
0

0.2

0.4
0.6
0.8
False Positive Rate

(a) Priority System

Prior PCR - General System

Pe

e
rf

True Positive Rate

ct

0.8
65-80
0.6

better

65-90

65-85
worse

65-75
70-90

0.4

70-85

0.2
0
0

0.2

0.4
0.6
0.8
False Positive Rate

(b) General System

Figure 35: Determination of the Optimal Prior PCR Range Using the ROC Method

61

Table 7 below shows that thin overlay thickness also contributes positively to the cost
effectiveness, but its impact is less important than the existing pavement condition. It can be
seen in Table 7 that 97% of the Priority System thin overlays constructed on pavements with
Prior PCR score of between 70 and 90, and with a thickness of 1.75-2 inches were costeffective. The percentage decreases with decreasing thickness, but most dramatically when
prior condition is outside of the optimal range.

The pattern is similar for General System thin

overlays.

Table 7: Percent of Cost Effective Mileage versus Prior PCR and Thickness
(a) Priority System (Threshold PCR = 65)
Thickness Added
Prior PCR Range
1 - 1.25
1.5
70 <= Prior PCR < 90
93.6
93.4
Prior PCR < 70 or
65.8
84.8
>= 90

1.75-2.0
97

(b) General System (Threshold PCR = 60)


Thickness Added
Prior PCR Range
1 - 1.25
1.5
65<= Prior PCR < 80
83.4
85.9
Prior PCR < 65 or
71.5
70.7
>= 80

1.75-2.0
94.4

71.4

77.4

Figures 36 and 37 show the proportions of each important parameter within the cost effective
and not cost effective groups, for Priority and General systems, respectively. Prior PCR and
Cracking Deduct, pavement type, and overlay thickness are all shown to affect cost
effectiveness.

Prior Cracking Deduct is part of the Prior PCR, and the two are highly

correlated. Other parameters not shown, such as snowfall and traffic loading, do not exhibit
significant difference between the two groups of pavements.

62

Parameter

Cost Effective

Not Cost Effective

Prior PCR

Prior PCR < 70 or Prior PCR >= 90


70<= PCRPrior < 90

Prior PCR < 70 or Prior PCR >= 90


70<= PCRPrior < 90

CRDPrior>15

CRDPrior<=15

CRDPrior>15

CRDPrior<=15

Composite

Flexible

Composite

Flexible

Prior
Cracking Deduct

Pavement Type

Thickness of
Overlay (in inches)

1-1.25

1.5

1.75-2

1-1.25

1.5

1.75-2

Figure 36: Proportion of Each Parameter within Cost Effective and Not Cost
Effective Priority System Thin Overlays

63

Parameter

Cost Effective

Not Cost Effective

Prior PCR

Prior PCR< 65 or Prior PCR >= 80


65<= PCRPrior < 80

Prior PCR< 65 or Prior PCR >= 80


65<= PCRPrior < 80

CRDPrior>20

CRDPrior<=20

CRDPrior>20

CRDPrior<=20

Composite

Flexible

Composite

Flexible

Prior
Cracking Deduct

Pavement Type

Thickness of
Overlay (in inches)

1-1.25

1.5

1.75-2

1-1.25

1.5

1.75-2

Figure 37: Proportion of Each Parameter within Cost Effective and Not Cost
Effective Priority System Thin Overlays

64

Figure 36 shows that, for Priority System thin overlays, a thin overlay is more likely to be costeffective if the Prior PCR is between 70 and 90 and the Prior Cracking Deduct is less than 15.
Thin overlays on flexible pavements were nearly always cost-effective, likely due to flexible
sections were in better condition than the composite sections. Thin overlays with a thickness of
less than 1.5 inches are more likely to be not cost effective.

Figure 37 shows that, for General System thin overlays, a thin overlay is more likely to be costeffective if the Prior PCR is between 65 and 80 and the Prior Cracking Deduct is less than 25.
Effect of pavement type is not as significant as for Priority System pavements. Thin overlays
with a thickness of 1.75 inches or greater are more likely to be cost effective.

Criteria for Selecting Candidate Sections for Thin Overlay Treatment

Based on the above analysis, the following criteria can be established to select candidate
pavement sections to receive thin overlay treatment.

For Priority System pavements:


1) The existing pavement has a PCR score of between 70 and 90.
2) The existing pavements cracking deduct is preferably below 15.

For General System pavements:


1) The existing pavement condition is between 65 and 80.
2) The existing pavements cracking deduct is preferably below 20.

65

VI. Prototype Aggregate Source Information System


An aggregate source information system has been developed to allow the aggregate source
quality to be identified and analyzed based on its geographical location and to link aggregate
source quality to pavement performance.
The locations of all aggregate quarries in Ohio are shown in Figure 38. The aggregate quality
data from each quarry, including soundness and abrasion losses, were provided by ODOT. In
order to find the impact of aggregate quality on pavement performance, aggregate quality data
available at each quarry location were interpolated to produce a continuous contour map. The
pavement performance, in terms of the average PCR drop per year, is then correlated with the
interpolated aggregate characteristics.

For a more accurate correlation, a prototype system was developed using data from Districts 2
and 3, where aggregate source(s) for each pavement project were identified through the Job
Mix Formula (JMF) and the Producer/Supplier Code information. The aggregate quality data
corresponding to the same time era of construction can then be correlated with the subsequent
pavement performance.

Figure 39 illustrates the structure of the information system.


aggregate test data from a quarry is linked to a pavement project.

66

Figure 40 shows how the

Figure 38: Location of Aggregate Quarries in Ohio

Project Aggregate Info


(Project JMF)
Performance Data PMIS

ArcGIS Geodatabase

JMF Data
(Producer/Supplier Info)
Aggregate Test Data
(Quarry based)

ArcGIS Script

Geostatistical Analyst

Output Maps

Figure 39: Aggregate Source Information System Structure


67

District 3 Project Data


District

Year

PN

JMF ID

JMF
Material
Code

1998

687-97

B418148

1774411

Asphalt JMF Data


JMF ID

JMF
Material
Code

Blend
Material
Code

BlendProd/
Supp Code

Submit
Year

Approved
Year

B418148

1774411

0010137

04302

1998

1998

B418148

1774411

055SD5

04006

1998

1998

B418148

1774411

055SD5

04202

1998

1998

B418148

1774411

055008

04202

1998

1998

B418148

1774411

1016422

04302

1998

1998

Aggregate Test Data


SMPL
ID

SMPL
ID
SFX

SMPL
ORIGIN

SMPL
YEAR

ACTUAL
COMPL
YEAR

PS_CD

SNDNSS
LOSS
PCT

46900

01

01

1994

1994

04006

14174

01

01

1994

1994

04006

146507

01

01

1995

1995

04006

534401

01

01

2000

2000

04006

622446

01

06

2001

2001

04006

620697

01

02

2001

2001

04006

Material Code
MATL_CD

MATL
TYPE

075RBL

Lime

Figure 40: Relating Source Aggregate Test Data to a Pavement Project

68

The soundness and abrasion losses data for various aggregates statewide and for Districts 2 and
3 are summarized and shown in Table 8. The aggregates available in District 3 have higher
average soundness loss compared with the statewide average. This is also evident from the
interpolated soundness loss map for gravel aggregates shown in Figure 41. The interpolated
abrasion loss map for gravel aggregates is shown Figure 42.

Table 8: Summary of Soundness and Abrasion Losses of Different Aggregates

Location

Abrasion Loss

Soundness Loss

Percentage

Percentage

Material Type

No. of
Average

data

No. of
Average

points

State Wide

District 2

points

Crushed Stone

29

9868

9820

Gravel

28

7516

7840

Lime Stone

30

27

372

Natural Sand

23

4858

Sand and Gravel

31

28

161

Slag

34

629

Crushed Stone

29

3098

3170

Gravel

27

492

571

Lime Stone

29

74

331

22

56

Natural Sand
Sand and Gravel

68

Slag

District 3

data

Crushed Stone

31

715

709

Gravel

29

390

10

518

Lime Stone

27

43

338

91

Natural Sand
Sand and Gravel

37

Slag

69

12
2
3

11

6
7
5

10
8
9

Figure 41: Average Soundness Loss of Gravel (1994-2005)

12

11

6
7
5

10
8
9

Figure 42: Average Abrasion Loss of Gravel (1994-2005)

Limestone aggregate quarries are mostly concentrated in the northwestern part of the State.
The limestone aggregates in District 6 have higher average soundness and abrasion losses than
in the other Districts, as shown in Figures 43 and 44. The average losses are higher for gravel
aggregates than for limestone aggregates.

70

12
2
3

11

6
7
5

10
8
9

Figure 43: Average Soundness Loss of Limestone (1994-2005)

12
2
3

11

6
7
5

10
8
9

Figure 44: Average Abrasion Loss of Limestone (1994-2005)

Figure 45 depicts the soundness losses of both gravel and limestone aggregates combined in
one map. It clearly shows that the poorest quality aggregates are found mostly in District 3,
which had predominantly gravel materials.

71

12
2
3

11

6
7

10
8
9

Figure 45: Average Soundness Loss of both Limestone and Gravel (1994-2005)

The effects of abrasion and soundness losses on pavement performance in Districts 2 and 3 are
shown in Figures 46 and 47.

As discussed in the previous sections of this report, the

performance of a pavement is influenced by many parameters. Therefore, no single parameter


can completely determine the performance. From Figures 46 and 47, it is evident that abrasion
loss does not seem to affect pavement performance, but higher soundness loss does have an
apparent negative impact on pavement performance.

Figure 46 shows that when the color-coded pavement performance map is put on top of the
soundness loss map for Districts 2 and 3, it is clear that more poor-performing pavements exist
in areas with higher aggregate soundness loss.

72

10
PCR Drop / Year

District 2

District 3

8
6
4
2
0
0

10

20
30
Abrasion Loss (in %)

40

50

Figure 46: PCR Slope versus Abrasion Loss for District 2 and 3

PCR Drop / Year

10
District 2

District 3

6
4
2
0
0

4
6
8
Soundness Loss (in %)

10

12

Figure 47: PCR Slope versus Soundness Loss for District 2 and 3

73

DISTRICT - 2

DISTRICT - 3

Figure 48: Soundness Loss vs. Pavement Performance for District 2 and 3

The RMSE values of the various interpolation methods for statewide soundness and abrasion
data are presented in Tables 9 and 10.

The interpolation method with the lowest RMSE is different for different aggregate tests, but is
independent of the type of aggregates or the materials collected at different years from different
surface / sub-surface zones.

Based on the RMSE values shown in Table 9, the Universal Kriging method is recommended
for interpolation of the soundness loss attribute data. For interpolation of abrasion loss data,
Table 10 suggests that both the Inverse Distance Weighted (IDW) and the Radial Basis
Function (RBF) methods are suitable. However, considering the simplicity of the method,
IDW is recommended for interpolation of the abrasion loss attribute data.

74

Table 9: Estimated RMSE of Different Interpolation Methods applied on


Soundness of Aggregates (1994-2005 Data)
Material Type

Interpolation Technique

Parameters Adopted

RMSE

All Materials

Universal Kriging

Model: Exponential,

3.2

Anisotropic Data
Inverse Distance Weighted

Optimized Power 1.19

3.8

Global Polynomial

1st Order Polynomial

4.2

Local Polynomial

2nd Order Polynomial

4.1

Radial Basis Function

Multiquadric Kernel

3.5

(RBF)

Function

Universal Kriging

Model: Circular,

(IDW)

Crushed Stone

3.3

Anisotropic Data
Inverse Distance Weighted

Optimized Power 2.91

4.7

Global Polynomial

1st Order Polynomial

6.0

Local Polynomial

1st Order Polynomial

5.4

Radial Basis Function

Kernel Function: Spline

4.7

(RBF)

with tension

(IDW)

75

Table 10: Estimated RMSE of Different Interpolation Methods applied on


Abrasion of Aggregates (1994-2005 Data)
Material Type

Interpolation Technique

Parameters Adopted

RMSE

All Materials

Universal Kriging

Model: Spherical, Isotropic

5.8

Data
Optimized Power 1.22

3.7

Global Polynomial

3rd Order Polynomial

4.1

Local Polynomial

1st Order Polynomial

3.9

Radial Basis Function

Kernel Function: Spline

3.6

(RBF)

with tension

Universal Kriging

Model: Spherical,

Inverse Distance
Weighted (IDW)

Crushed Stone

6.5

Anisotropic Data
Optimized Power 1.36

4.7

Global Polynomial

3rd Order Polynomial

4.7

Local Polynomial

1st Order Polynomial

4.7

Radial Basis Function

Kernel Function: Inverse

3.9

(RBF)

Multiquadric

Inverse Distance
Weighted (IDW)

76

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS


Based on the findings of this research study, the following conclusions can be made:
1. Thin hot-mix asphalt overlay is generally a cost-effective maintenance treatment for asphalt
surfaced pavements in Ohio. On average, a Priority system thin overlay is expected to last
about 9 years before its PCR score falls below a terminal score threshold of 65, while for a
minor rehabilitation (typically, a 3 inch overlay with or without repair), that time is
roughly 12 years. For General system thin overlays, the expected service life is more or
less 12 years before reaching a PCR threshold of 60, and for a minor rehabilitation, 15
years. In other words, the expected service life of a thin overlay is approximately 75%80% of that of a minor rehabilitation.
2. The average actual service life of terminated thin overlays on the Priority system is 6.6
years, and on General system, 9.1 years. The average actual service life is less than the
expected service life, because many thin overlays were replaced by a minor rehabilitation or
by another thin overlay before falling below the terminal PCR thresholds. For Priority
system thin overlays, the average PCR score when a thin overlay was replaced was 73, and
for the General system, the average score was 69. These scores vary significantly among
different Districts. Note the average actual service life of minor rehabilitation projects is
also less than the expected service life, for the same reason. The average actual service life
of Priority system minor rehabilitation is about 9 years and for the General system, 13
years. Therefore, the average actual service life of thin overlays is approximately 70% of
the average actual life of minor rehabilitations.
3. Based on the cost data of recently completed projects in Ohio, the average cost of Priority
system thin overlay projects is only around 40% of the average cost of Priority system
minor rehabilitation projects. For the General system, the ratio is more or less 60%.
Therefore, most of the thin overlay projects are cost effective based on the average life and
average cost.
4. In order to compare the performance of thin overlays based on a uniform ending condition
and to include the many thin overlays that are still in service, predicted PCR conditions

77

were used to obtain the performance of thin overlays as measured by the area under the
PCR-Age curve, above the terminal PCR thresholds.
5. The performance of thin overlays has been improving since the mid 1990s, likely due to
improved material specifications and construction quality. The performance improvement
is particularly pronounced for Priority System thin overlays.
6. The existing pavement condition prior to a thin overlay is the most important parameter that
influences the performance and cost effectiveness of a thin overlay.

Better existing

pavement condition directly correlates with better thin overlay performance. However, the
benefit and the cost effectiveness of a thin overlay decrease if the existing pavement is still
in excellent condition. Therefore, thin overlays performed on Priority system pavements
with a prior PCR score between 70 and 90 and on General system pavements with a prior
PCR score between 65 and 80 have the best chance to be cost effective.
7. Thin overlay performance varies among Districts, as the prior conditions and terminal
conditions are quite different among the Districts. Statewide, approximately 87% of the
Priority System thin overlays constructed between 1994 and 2002 were deemed costeffective, while 81% of the General System thin overlays constructed during the same
period were cost-effective.
8. The cost effectiveness of a thin overlay depends not only on the performance of the thin
overlay itself, but also on the relative cost and performance of a typical minor rehabilitation
within the same District.

Thin overlays in Districts 4 and 12, despite having below

statewide average performance, have above average cost effectiveness, because the average
performance of minor rehabilitations in these Districts are rather poor.
9. Thin overlays perform better in areas with less annual snowfall. However, due to the same
reason stated above, the cost effectiveness is not directly affected by the annual snowfall
amount.
10. Thin overlays constructed on flexible pavements generally perform better and are more
cost-effective than those constructed on composite pavements, particularly for Priority
System.
11. A thin overlay is more effective in correcting rutting distress, but less effective in
eradicating cracking distresses such as reflective cracking, transverse cracking, longitudinal
cracking, edge cracking, and wheel track cracking. Effect of milling to remove damaged

78

materials prior to overlay is not clear as the available data are not controlled. Thin overlay
should not be performed on pavements with very high cracking deducts. For Priority
System thin overlays, it is desirable that the existing pavements cracking deduct be less
than 15, and for the General System, less than 20 in order for the thin overlay to be more
cost effective.
12. Thicker overlays also have better performance and are more cost effective. However, since
the thickness for thin overlays ranges only between 1 and 2 inches, the effect of thickness is
less than the effect of the existing pavement condition.
13. The benefit of a thin overlay also includes improved ride quality.

The ride quality

improvement on flexible pavements lasts, on average, over a dozen years, before reverting
to the same ride quality prior to the thin overlay, but on Priority System composite
pavements, about 7 years.
14. This study focuses on the determination of the cost-effectiveness of thin overlays as
opposed to do nothing until the next minor or major rehabilitation. Comparing thin overlay
with other maintenance techniques is beyond the scope of the current study. From the
literature review, however, thin overlay and chip seal are the two most cost effective
maintenance treatments. Thin overlay is more effective in addressing rutting problems, but
the cost of thin overlay is higher than the cost of chip seal. Therefore, thin overlay is
preferred on high traffic routes where rutting is a concern. Otherwise, chip seal may be
considered.
15. An aggregate source information system has been developed to provide a tool for analyzing
aggregate quality test data based on the geographic locations of the quarries.

By

interpolating the test data from nearby quarries, aggregate source quality can tied to
pavement performance. Using data from Districts 2 and 3, pavement performance is found
to be adversely affected by the aggregate soundness loss, but not by the abrasion loss.

The following recommendations are made based on the findings of this research study:
1. Thin HMA overlay should be included as one of the cost effective maintenance treatments
in developing the overall pavement preservation strategy.

79

2. It is recommended that the criteria developed in this study be adopted by ODOT when
selecting candidate pavements for thin overlay treatment. The most important criterion is
that the existing pavement should not be in very poor condition.
3. The effect of milling to remove damaged materials prior to thin overlay on the performance
of thin overlay should be investigated further to establish a more uniform statewide
guideline for milling.
4. The developed prototype aggregate source information system should be maintained and
expanded to include all Districts, so that aggregate qualities at all quarry locations statewide
can be monitored easily, and the impact of aggregate source quality on pavement
performance statewide can be evaluated.
5. It is highly important that ODOT continue the statewide monitoring and collection of
pavement conditions and performance data, including, but not limited to, thin overlay
projects.

These data provide continuing support for timely pavement management

decisions and development of pavement preservation strategies.


6. Further research into comparing the cost effectiveness of thin overlays versus chip seals to
address specific distress conditions is recommended.

IMPLEMENTATION PLAN

1. The criteria for selecting candidate pavements most suitable to receive a thin HMA overlay
can be implemented by the Office of Pavement Engineering and each District Office. The
existing pavement condition and other information required for implementation is available
from the Office of Pavement Engineering.

2. The prototype Aggregate Source Information System developed in study can be readily
used by the Office of Materials Management to supplement the existing practices in
monitoring the aggregate source quality at various quarry locations statewide.

80