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Construction and Building Materials 55 (2014) 212–219

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Premature distresses at transverse construction joints (TCJs) in

continuously reinforced concrete pavements
Wujun Zhou a, Pangil Choi a,⇑, Sureel Saraf a, Sung Woo Ryu b, Moon C. Won a
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409, United States
Korea Expressway & Transpiration Research Institute, Hwa-Sung, Republic of Korea

h i g h l i g h t s

 Poor construction practices and the use of additional tie bars at TCJs are the major causes of premature distress.
 Behavior of longitudinal steel and additional tie bars at TCJs is different.
 Premature distress at TCJs can decrease as use of relief transverse saw cut joints near TCJs.

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: The long-term performance of continuously reinforced concrete pavement (CRCP) has been quite satis-
Received 24 September 2013 factory in Texas, providing an important network of highways with heavy truck traffic and minimal main-
Received in revised form 16 January 2014 tenance. However, certain forms of distresses were observed within a few years after construction,
Accepted 16 January 2014
requiring repair of the distresses and causing traffic delays. Distresses at transverse construction joints
Available online 8 February 2014
(TCJs) were one of the most frequently observed distresses, and efforts were made to identify the mech-
anisms of those distresses and develop or improve design standards or specifications. Field evaluations of
concrete and steel behavior near TCJs were made using various gages. The analysis of the data indicates
Continuously reinforced concrete pavement
that the current practice of placing additional tie bars at TCJs, along with poor construction practices, are
Punchout the major causes of the distress. There is a large difference in the behavior of reinforcement between
Premature distress additional tie bars and longitudinal steel that is continuous through transverse construction joints. The
Transverse construction joint premise that additional tie bars at TCJs will behave the same way as longitudinal steel, thus reducing steel
stresses of longitudinal steel at TCJs, keeping the joint widths tight, and improving TCJ performance, is not
necessarily correct. Also, the use of additional tie bars makes the consolidation of concrete at TCJs difficult
due to the reduced spacing between longitudinal reinforcing steel. Not placing additional tie bars at TCJs,
and the use of relief transverse saw cut joints near TCJs, along with improved construction practices at
TCJs, will minimize the distresses.
Ó 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction 50 years. Based on the excellent performance of CRCP in Texas,

TxDOT made it a policy to utilize CRCP when a rigid pavement is
As of 2012, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has selected for a project. However, distresses do occur in CRCP and
over 13,000 lane miles (20,930 km) of continuously reinforced con- Fig. 1 illustrates the classifications of the distresses in CRCP in
crete pavement (CRCP), which represents about 6.8% of the high- Texas [1,2].
way lane mileage in the state, primarily in interstate highways In Fig. 1, distresses are those classified as punchouts in TxDOT
and US highways where traffic volume is high. The extensive use Pavement Management Information System (PMIS) [3]. It shows
of CRCP is based on its quite satisfactory performance, in terms that about half of the total distresses are due to large spalling,
of performance life and the low frequency of repairs. The statewide about 20% at repair joints, 20% at transverse construction joints
punchout distress development rate of CRCP is, on an average, less (TCJs), and only 15% are real punchouts that are due to structural
than 0.2 distresses per year per lane mile. If 10 punchouts per mile deficiency of the CRCP. Except for real punchouts, the rest of the
(1.61 km) is considered as the terminal condition of CRCP, the distresses usually occur within a few years of new or repaired
statewide average performance life of CRCP would be about CRCP, which makes them premature distresses. Premature dis-
tresses are not due to structural deficiency of the CRCP; rather,
⇑ Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 806 742 3523. they are related to deficiencies in design details and the quality
E-mail address: (P. Choi). of materials and construction. In Texas, large spalling occurs when

0950-0618/$ - see front matter Ó 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
W. Zhou et al. / Construction and Building Materials 55 (2014) 212–219 213

Fig. 1. CRCP punchout classification in Texas.

coarse aggregates with a high coefficient of thermal expansion

(CoTE) are used. TxDOT now requires that for concrete to be used
in CRCP, the CoTE value of concrete must be less than 5.5  106/
°F (9.9  106/°C). This requirement is expected to reduce large
spalling distresses in Texas [4]. Fig. 3. Typical layout of a test section [10 = 0.305 m; 100 = 25.4 mm].
As for the distresses at transverse repair joints (TRJs), there
could be several causes. One is the failure to restore base support In order to minimize the distresses at TCJs by identifying their
during the repair, and another is the inability to restore the conti- mechanisms and improving design standards and specifications,
nuity of longitudinal steel at TRJs when tie bars are epoxy grouted. TxDOT initiated a research study, which consisted of investigating
Lately, TxDOT improved specifications for CRCP repairs, and devel- mechanistic behavior of CRCP near the TCJs with various gages, and
oped a training manual as well [5]. The implementation of the new evaluating construction and material related issues near TCJs.
specifications and training of personnel conducting CRCP repairs is
expected to minimize the occurrence of distresses at repair joints. 2. Field experimental program
Fig. 2 illustrates a typical distress at TCJs. Most of the distresses
Volume changes in concrete in CRCP due to temperature and moisture varia-
at TCJ are usually observed at a distance of two feet (0.61 m) from
tions are almost fully restrained, except for end areas, by longitudinal steel and base
the TCJ. Currently, 50% additional longitudinal steel is placed at the friction, which causes transverse cracks to develop and relieve stresses [6]. The
TCJs in the form of 50 in. (127 cm) long tie-bars, which is accom- behavior of concrete and steel in CRCP in almost fully restrained areas has been
plished by placing a tie bar at every other spacing as shown in investigated [7]. However, a CRCP segment placed near the end of the concrete
placement of the day is not restrained until concrete placed on the other side of a
Fig. 3. In Texas, CRCP design standards dating back as early as
TCJ gains adequate strength. Also, there is a difference in stiffness of concrete at
1961 provide details of the use of tie-bars at TCJs. Although no doc- both sides of TCJs at early ages. Accordingly, the behavior of CRCP near TCJs might
umented evidence exists on the rationale behind the introduction be different from those of CRCP in other areas. To investigate the behavior of con-
of additional steel at the TCJs, the reasoning could have been that crete and steel in CRCP near TCJs, field experiments were conducted in two projects
if the longitudinal steel amount is deficient, stresses at longitudinal as shown in Table 1.
In each project, concrete and steel strains, along with concrete slab displace-
steel at TCJs can be elevated above an allowable level, resulting in
ments in the longitudinal direction, were evaluated. Fig. 3 illustrates a typical test-
larger joint widths and distresses. Lower load transfer efficiency ing plan. Concrete strains in the longitudinal direction were measured at 1 ft
(LTE) and/or larger deflections at TCJs could be considered as po- (0.305 m), 2 ft (0.61 m), and 4 ft (1.22 m) from TCJs with vibrating wire strain gages
tential causes for the distresses at TCJs. However, extensive deflec- (VWSGs). Steel strains in the longitudinal steel and additional tie bars in the longi-
tudinal direction were obtained at different locations at the joint with electrical
tion testing conducted in a research study, where a total 27
steel strain gages (SSGs). Concrete slab displacements in the longitudinal direction
sections were selected and deflection testing using Falling Weight were obtained at both sides of the slab, as well as across the TCJs, with crackmeters.
Deflectometer (FWD) was conducted twice a year, summer and The size of longitudinal steel and tie bars used in this project was 19 mm.
winter, for 8 years, indicates no substantial difference in LTE and
deflections between at cracks and TCJs [2]. 2.1. Lubbock test section

This section is located on US 82 (eastbound) in the Lubbock District between IH

27 and US 84. The CRCP structure consists of 13 in. (330 mm) of concrete slab on
4 in. (100 mm) of asphalt stabilized base. Two TCJs were evaluated – one between
CRCPs built on November 15, 2010 and on December 15, 2011 (LBB-I), and the other
between CRCPs built on December 15, 2011 and December 21, 2011 (LBB-II).
The age difference between the concretes at the joint LBB-I is one year and one
month and this joint presents a unique opportunity to investigate the interactions
at a joint between old and new concretes. Since the old section was built before the
research study was initiated, concrete gages were installed only in the new concrete
section. When there is a sufficient time gap between the old and new CRCP place-
ments at TCJs, it is normal practice in TxDOT to place female-piece tie bars at the old
concrete side of TCJs. Prior to the placement of concrete on the other side of a TCJ,
male-piece tie bars are installed at the TCJ and the continuity of longitudinal rein-
forcement is provided by placing and tying longitudinal steel to male-piece tie bars.

2.2. Brownwood test section

The test section denoted as BWD-I was constructed in the Brownwood District,
10 miles (16.1 km) east of Ranger, on IH 20 (west bound). The CRCP structure con-
Fig. 2. Typical distress near transverse construction joint. sists of 13 in. (330 mm) of concrete slab on 4 in. (100 mm) of asphalt stabilized
214 W. Zhou et al. / Construction and Building Materials 55 (2014) 212–219

Table 1
Field test section details [1.0 in. = 25.4 mm].

Highway District TCJ ID Slab thickness (in.) Construction date Construction time Construction season
US 82 Lubbock LBB-I 13 11/15/2010 Existing Winter
13 12/15/2011 Morning
LBB-II 13 12/15/2011 Evening Winter
13 12/21/2011 Morning
IH 20 Brownwood BWD-I 13 08/14/2012 Evening Summer
13 08/16/2012 Morning

base. The two CRCP slabs at the TCJ were constructed on August 14, 2012 and Au- temperature analysis. At early ages, the concrete temperature drop
gust 16, 2012. At 6 ft from the inside LCJ and 1 ft and 4 ft from the TCJ, VWSGs were
from December 20, 2011 to December 24, 2011 was 22 °F (12.3 °C)
installed at the mid-depth of the slab in both the morning and evening construction
sides. Six SSGs were also installed in the morning side at BWD-I. Three of these SSGs
overall, decreasing from 62 °F (16.7 °C) to 40 °F (4.4 °C). This drop
were installed on the longitudinal steel and the other 3 on top of additional tie-bars in concrete temperature is rather large. However, the variations
at a distance of 3 ft, 6 ft and 10 ft from the inside LCJ. in steel strains were minimal, which indicates that the steel strains
at TCJ were relieved while the concrete temperature was decreas-
ing, potentially due to creep of concrete and the development of
3. Results and discussion transverse cracks. On the other hand, daily variations in steel
strains follow temperature variations quite well – in the morning
3.1. Behavior of additional and longitudinal steel at transverse when the concrete temperature is getting lower, steel strains move
construction joint to the tension side, while in the afternoon when the concrete tem-
perature increases, steel strains move in the compression direction.
Fig. 4(a) and (b) represents the steel strain behavior at LBB-I in This implies that daily concrete volume changes due to tempera-
the early ages after construction and 3 months after construction, ture variations affected steel stresses at TCJ, while the overall trend
respectively. The legends in Figs. 4–6 consist of two parts: the first of concrete temperature variations during the several days did not
indicates the transverse distance from free edge and the second is
the type of bar (L for longitudinal steel and T for additional tie bar).
Concrete temperature at the mid-depth of slab was used for the

(a) Early Age Steel Strain at BWD-I Test Section

(a) Early Age Steel Strain at LBB-I Test Section

(b) Later Age Steel Strain at BWD-I Test Section

(b) Later Age Steel Strain at LBB-I Test Section
Fig. 5. Steel strain behavior with time-short term, BWD-I [°C = (°F  32)/1.8;
Fig. 4. Steel strain behavior with Time, LBB-I [°C = (°F  32)/1.8; 1 ft = 0.305 m]. 1 ft = 0.305 m].
W. Zhou et al. / Construction and Building Materials 55 (2014) 212–219 215

(a) Steel Strain at BWD-I right after construction (c) Steel Strain at BWD-I 5 months after construction

(b) Steel Strain at BWD-I 3 months after construction (d) Steel Strain at BWD-I 7 months after construction

Fig. 6. Steel strain variation with TIME-Long Term, BWD-I [°C = (°F  32)/1.8; 1ft = 0.305 m].

have appreciable effects on steel stresses. It is shown that steel the data analysis. As can be seen in Fig. 5(a), concrete temperature
strains in 2 bars exceeded yield points. As shown in Fig. 4(b), as dropped from 70 °F (21.1 °C) to 55 °F (12.8 °C) from October 1,
the concrete temperature increased from 50 °F (10.0 °C) to 70 °F 2012 to November 30, 2012. However, the steel strains in the lon-
(21.1 °C) from March 21, 2012 to March 25, 2012, which is a rather gitudinal steel, as well as the additional tie-bars, remained rela-
large temperature increase, steel strain variations were relatively tively steady, while experiencing daily variations due to daily
small. Also, it is noted that, compared with steel strains at the early temperature variations, as observed in the LBB-I section. As shown
ages shown in Fig. 4(a), those about 3 months after concrete place- in Fig. 5(b), the steel strains in the longitudinal steel at 3 ft (0.92 m)
ment decreased substantially. Also, comparisons of steel strains at and 6 ft (1.83 m) from the free edge remained steady at around
the same concrete temperature, for example at 60 °F (15.5 °C) 1000 le and 500 le in tension, respectively. However, after the
(December 21, 2011) at the early ages and 3 months later (March temperature increase from March 7, 2012, steel strains in the tie-
21, 2012), indicate significant decrease in steel strains for those bar at 6 ft (1.83 m) moved into compression, as did those at the
3 months. This finding has a technical significance, because in CRCP tie-bars at 3 ft (0.92 m) and 10 ft (3.05 m). On the other hand,
research, it is assumed that steel stresses at transverse cracks or at strains in the longitudinal steel remained in tension, which indi-
concrete discontinuities such as TCJs, are maintained quite high, cates that the behavior of longitudinal steel and additional tie bars
and crack widths could be large enough to decrease load transfer is quite different. The primary reason for this discrepancy in the
efficiency if steel stresses are excessive. This assumption was made behavior appears to be the ‘‘continuity’’ condition of the bars.
with the premise that concrete behavior is elastic. It is well known When the concrete temperature increases, the volumes of both
that concrete exhibits visco-elastic behavior when subjected to concrete and steel bars try to increase as well. In general, there is
slow loading such as gradual temperature variations. The informa- a good bond between longitudinal steel and surrounding concrete,
tion in Fig. 4(a) and (b) indicates that visco-elastic nature of con- and the concrete and longitudinal steel behave as a near composite
crete has an effect on concrete slab behavior in CRCP and should material. On the other hand, additional tie bars are not continuous,
be considered in a mechanistic analysis of CRCP behavior due to and there is a discontinuity at the end of tie bars. When the con-
temperature and moisture variations [8]. crete and tie bar volume expands due to temperature increase,
Fig. 5(a) and (b) illustrates the early and later age behavior of concrete could push tie bars longitudinally towards TCJs, causing
steel strain at BWD-I. SSGs were installed at 3 ft (0.92 m), 6 ft tie bars in compression and, if excessive, tensile stress in concrete
(1.83 m) and 10 ft (3.05 m) from the pavement edge. The gage in- in the vertical direction near the tie bars, potentially resulting in
stalled in the longitudinal steel at 10 ft (3.05 m) from free edge did horizontal cracks or delaminations at the depth of tie bars. This
not provide data after construction and hence was not included in mechanism of horizontal cracking in concrete slabs has been
216 W. Zhou et al. / Construction and Building Materials 55 (2014) 212–219

observed at transverse contraction joints in jointed concrete slabs,

where dowels cause vertical tensile stresses in concrete when tem-
perature increase is excessive. Based on the available CRCP design

standards, TxDOT has used additional tie bars as early as 1960, and
it is difficult to form a logical or technical justification for the use of
additional tie bars at TCJs. It could be that a premise was made at
that time that additional tie bars would behave the same way as
longitudinal steel and thus ‘‘complement’’ longitudinal steel at
TCJs, reducing stress level in longitudinal steel at TCJs and improv-
ing overall performance. The data from the field experimentation
indicates that the premise may not be valid.
Fig. 6(a)–(d) provides a more exhaustive display of the steel
strains at BWD-I test section from the early age until 7 months
after construction. They show that the variations in steel strains
in longitudinal steel at 3 ft (0.92 m) and 6 ft (1.83 m) from the
pavement edge remained relatively small and in tension, whereas
the steel strains in tie bars gradually moved towards compression. (a) Rate of concrete strain change at LBB-I TCJ
This disparity in steel strains between longitudinal steel and addi-
tional tie bars provides valuable technical information which
should be considered for improved design of TCJs in CRCP.

3.2. Concrete strain behavior near transverse construction joint

Concrete strain variations derived from VWSGs installed in

LBB-I test section are shown in Fig. 7(a) in the form of rate of
concrete strain variations with temperature until about 500 days
from construction. The rate of concrete strain variations is the
largest at 1 ft (0.305 m) from the TCJ, and no practical difference
between at 2 ft (0.61 m) and 4 ft (1.22 m) is observed. Right
after construction, during winter, the rate of concrete strain
change was between 3.5 le/°F (6.3 le/°C) and 4.0 le/°F
(7.2 le/°C). As the concrete temperature increased during sum-
mer, the rate of strain change dropped to between 1.5 le/°F
(2.7 le/°C) and 2.0 le/°F (3.6 le/°C). In the following winter, rate
(b) Rate of concrete strain change at LBB-II TCJ
of concrete strain change increased again to between 4.0 le/°F
(7.2 le/°C) and 5.0 le/°F (9.0 le/°C). With the increase in
temperature during the summer, more than 400 days after
construction, the rate of concrete strain change again dropped,

even though the reduction is not as large as in the first cycle

of winter to summer. This pattern of increase and reduction in
the rate of concrete strain changes during winter and summer,
respectively, can be explained by the space (joint width) avail-
able for concrete slab to expand and contract at the TCJ. In
the summer, concrete expands and the space available for con-
crete slab to move at TCJ is restricted, resulting in a smaller rate
of concrete strain changes. On the other hand, in the winter,
concrete contracts and more space becomes available for con-
crete slab to move at TCJ, with a larger rate of concrete strain
changes. However, with time, continued concrete drying shrink-
age appears to provide more space (larger joint width) at TCJ
and the rate of concrete strain changes increases compared to
the previous summer.
(c) Rate of concrete strain change at BWD-I TCJ
Fig. 7(b) and (c) displays the variations in the rate of concrete
strain over time at TCJs constructed in the winter (LBB-II) and sum- Fig. 7. Concrete strain variation at TCJs for each test section [°C = (°F  32)/1.8;
mer (BWD-I), respectively. In Fig. 7(b), little difference in the rate 1ft = 0.305 m].
of concrete strain change is observed at all locations, except in
the second summer. The variations over time are quite similar to
the pattern shown in LBB-I (Fig. 7(a)). winter, around 100 days after construction, the rate of strain
In the summer construction section at BWD-I, Fig. 7(c) shows a change increases to between 2.0 le/°F (3.6 le/°C) and 3.0 le/°F
similar pattern of low concrete strain change rate initially in the (5.4 le/°C).
summer, but the rate increases as winter approaches. These con- It is postulated that when the concrete is placed at the TCJ dur-
crete strain rate changes are at a distance of 1 ft (0.305 m) and ing winter construction, the concrete setting temperature is low,
4 ft (1.22 m) from the TCJ in the evening and morning sections at and as the concrete temperature increases in the summer, concrete
BWD-I. The rate of concrete strain change right after construction expands and the width of the TCJ becomes quite small, thus
of the BWD-I test section in summer 2012 is between 0.3 le/°F minimizing concrete strain variations due to temperature varia-
(0.5 le/°C) and 1.5 le/°F (2.7 le/°C). As the temperature drops in tions. In the following winter seasons, as the concrete temperature
W. Zhou et al. / Construction and Building Materials 55 (2014) 212–219 217

decreases, the width of TCJ becomes large, allowing more concrete

strains due to temperature variations.

3.3. Longitudinal slab movement at transverse construction joint

Slab movement in the longitudinal direction at the TCJ was

evaluated using crackmeters at LBB-I TCJ. Crackmeters were
installed individually to each slab to determine longitudinal dis-
placements of each slab. Also, a crackmeter was installed across
the TCJ to determine the joint opening and closing as shown in
Fig. 8(a).
Fig. 8(b) shows the slab displacements obtained from the crack-
meters. As the concrete temperature dropped after concrete place-
ment on December 15, 2011, the newly placed slab, as well as the
one placed one year and one month earlier, moved towards the
right in Fig. 8(a) (minus displacement in the graph) by almost (a) Unit weight of cores taken on US 287
the same amount for about five days. This indicates composite
behavior between old and new slabs provided by the continuity
of longitudinal reinforcement. It also shows that the newly placed
slab was pulling the existing pavement, possibly due to the drying
shrinkage of the newly placed concrete. It is to be noted that, even
though the modulus of elasticity of concrete in the newly placed
slab should be lower than that in the existing slab at early ages,
the difference in stiffness becomes quite small in a few days, and
the drying shrinkage of the new slab has a dominant effect. In
Fig. 8(b), ‘Across-Relative Displacement’ illustrates the relative dis-
placement measured from the crackmeter installed across the TCJ,
shown in Fig. 8(a), where movement in the positive direction

(b) Dynamic Young’s Modulus of cores taken on US 287

Fig. 9. Concrete density and modulus on US 287 in Wichita Falls District [1 lb/
ft3 = 16.02 kg/m3; 1 psi = 6.894 kPa].

indicates the joint opening. As the drying shrinkage progressed,

the joint opened little in the early age, although there was signifi-
cant temperature drop. The joint opening did not exceed 0.45 mm
(18 mils), which is less than the maximum crack width value rec-
ommended by the AASHTO [9]. It was not feasible to obtain long
term joint width variations because the gages had to be removed
for the placement of tied concrete shoulder. However, it appears
that the continuity of the reinforcing steel at the TCJ and proper
(a) Crackmeter Installation at LBB-I Test Section bonding between concrete and longitudinal reinforcing steel kept
the joint width quite small, at least at early ages.
Not all the information from the field experiment is presented
in this paper. For more complete information, refer to TxDOT re-
search report 0-6687-1: ‘‘Minimizing Premature Distresses in Con-
tinuously Reinforced Concrete Pavement’’ [10].

4. Evaluation of material quality and construction practices at


In order to evaluate the difference between the concrete near

and away from the TCJ, concrete cores were taken at two test sec-
tions, one on IH 20 in the Brownwood District and the other on US
287 in the Wichita Falls District. At the Brownwood section, two
cores were taken on both sides of the TCJ, and one core was taken
away from the TCJ. In Wichita Falls, two cores were taken at loca-
tions exhibiting surface distresses (denoted by B1 and B2 in
(b) Slab Movement at LBB-I Test Section
Fig. 9(a)) near the TCJ, and one core was taken at the location with
Fig. 8. Slab Movement Evaluation [1.0 mil = 0.0254 mm; °C = (°F  32)/1.8]. no surface distress (denoted by G1 in Fig. 9(a)). Unit weight and
218 W. Zhou et al. / Construction and Building Materials 55 (2014) 212–219

is substantial. The dynamic Young’s modulus of the core B2 is

43.8% lower than that of the core G1, which could have an effect
on the behavior of concrete near TCJs.
Fig. 10 shows the unit weight and dynamic modulus test results
of concrete cores taken on US 287 in Wichita Falls District. As can
be seen in Fig. 10(a), the unit weight of cores near the construction
joint in both the evening and morning construction sections are
lower by more than 1% compared to the core taken away from
the TCJ. Here, the evening side represents the concrete placed at
the end of the day and the morning side, the concrete placed in
the following or later day. Fig. 10(b) shows the dynamic Young’s
modulus of the three cores. The dynamic Young’s modulus of the
cores in the morning construction section is almost 9% less, and
that of the evening construction section is around 5% less, than that
of the core taken away from the TCJ.
These results could be due to the inadequate concrete consoli-
dation near TCJs and/or construction practices near TCJs that are
(a) Unit Weight of cores taken on different from other areas. Normally, concrete placement and
IH 20 in Brownwood District vibration near TCJs is done manually as shown in Fig. 11(a), since
the slip-form paver cannot start or end paving right at the TCJ. If
proper manual vibrations near the TCJ are not performed as per
specifications, improper consolidation would lead to different con-
crete material properties, as shown in Figs. 9 and 10. Also, a high
concentration of longitudinal steel in the form of regular steel
and additional tie bars act as an obstacle for proper concrete con-
solidation at TCJs. Insufficient consolidation in concrete could lead
to the presence of air voids in concrete and potentially surrounding
reinforcing bars, resulting in non-uniform steel stresses at TCJs, re-
duced soundness of concrete, and potential distresses near TCJs.
For example, in a CRCP construction project in Texas, in the con-
struction of southbound lanes, tie bars were installed at every
spacing of longitudinal bars at TCJs, i.e., 100% additional tie bars
as opposed to 50% required by TxDOT design standards. In the con-
struction of northbound lanes, 50% additional tie bars were placed
in accordance with TxDOT design standards. Distresses occurred in
almost all TCJs in the southbound lanes, but no distresses in the
northbound lanes. Fig. 11(b) illustrates the repairs done for those
(b) Dynamic Young’s Modulus of cores taken on distresses at TCJs in the southbound lanes. It appears that the
IH 20 in Brownwood District 100% additional tie bars resulted in poor consolidation of concrete
at TCJs and distresses.
Fig. 10. Concrete density and modulus on IH 20 in Brownwood District [1 lb/
ft3 = 16.02 kg/m3; 1 psi = 6.894 kPa].

5. Conclusions and recommendations

dynamic Young’s modulus of elasticity were evaluated for each of
the coring samples [10]. In order to minimize distresses at TCJs in CRCP, field evaluations
As shown in Fig. 9(a), the unit weight of core B1 is 2.8% lower of concrete and steel behavior near TCJs were made using various
and that of B2 is 3.6% lower than that of the core from the location gages with the objective of improving current CRCP design stan-
G1. As shown in Fig. 9(b), the difference in dynamic Young’s mod- dards or specifications. The following conclusions can be derived
ulus of elasticity between the locations with and without distress on the basis of field investigations and evidence collected:

(a) Concrete Consolidation at TCJ (b) Repair of Distress at TCJ due to

Excessive Additional Steel

Fig. 11. Concrete consolidation and distress at TCJs.

W. Zhou et al. / Construction and Building Materials 55 (2014) 212–219 219

1. Longitudinal tie bars at TCJs behave quite differently from lon- Based on the conclusions derived from the field testing and
gitudinal steel, primarily because longitudinal steel is continu- investigations conducted, it is recommended that no tie bars be in-
ous while tie bars are terminating at about 25 in. (0.635 m) stalled at TCJs. Also, in order to reduce stresses in longitudinal steel
from TCJs. When the concrete temperature increases substan- at TCJs, it is further recommended that transverse saw cuts be
tially from the setting temperature of concrete, tie bars actually made at 5 ft (1.52 m) and 10 ft (3.05 m) from the TCJs in the morn-
could be in compression, potentially causing horizontal crack- ing placement side.
ing of concrete at the depth of the steel placement and
distresses. References
2. Steel stresses at TCJ decrease over time, potentially due to the
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