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ASPHALT DISTRESSES

COMMON TYPES

I. CRACKING
II. DISTORTION
III. DISINTEGRATION
IV. SKIDDING HAZARDS
V. SURFACE TREATMENT

CAUSES OF PAVEMENT DETERIORATION

 Traffic loading
 Environment or climate influences
 Drainage deficiencies
 Material quality problem
 Construction deficiencies
 External contributors (Utility Cuts)

I. CRACKING – Several different types of cracks can develop in asphalt pavements. The repair depends on
the type of crack. Some cracks are load-related and some are attributable to temperature or
environment.

 Fatigue Cracking - Sometimes called Alligator cracking due the interconnected cracks which
resemble an alligator skin. Fatigue cracking is caused by load-related deterioration resulting from
a weakened base coarse or subgrade, too little pavement thickness, overloading, or a
combination of these factors.
 Block Cracking – Is a series of large (typically one foot or more), rectangular cracks on an asphalt
pavement surface. This type of cracking typically covers large areas and may occur in areas where
there is no traffic. Block cracking is typically caused by shrinkage of the asphalt pavement due to
temperature cycles.
 Edge Cracking – Longitudinal cracks which develop within one or two feet of the outer edge of
a pavement. These cracks form because of a lack of support at the pavement edge.
 Longitudinal Cracking – Occur parallel to the center line of the pavement. They can be caused by
a poorly constructed joint; shrinkage of the asphalt layer; cracks reflecting up from an underlying
layer; and longitudinal segregation due to improper paver operation. These cracks are not load-
related.
 Transverse Cracking – Occur roughly perpendicular to the center line of the pavement. They can
be caused by shrinkage of the asphalt layer or reflection from an existing crack. They are not
load-related.
 Reflection Cracking – Cracks that form over joints or cracks in a concrete pavement or in an
overlay of a deteriorated asphalt pavement. The cracks forms because of movement of the old
pavement.
 Slippage Cracking – Crescent-shaped cracks which form because of low-strength asphalt mix or
a poor bond between pavement layers. The cracks from due to the forces applied by the turning
or braking motion of the vehicles.

II. DISTORTION – is an asphalt pavement are caused by instability of an asphalt mix or weakness of the
base or subgrade layers. These distresses may include rutting, shoving, depressions, swelling and patch
failures.
 Rutting – is a linear, surface depression in the wheel path. It is caused by deformation or
consolidation of any of the pavement layers or subgrade. It can be caused by insufficient
pavement thickness, lack of compaction, and weak asphalt mixture.
 Shoving – is the formation of ripples across a pavement. This characteristic shape is why this type
of distress is sometimes called wash-boarding. Shoving occurs at location having severe
horizontal stresses, such as intersections. It is typically caused by excess asphalt; too much fine
aggregate; rounded aggregate; too soft asphalt; or weak granular base.
 Depressions – also called bird-baths, are localized low spots in the pavement surface. These flaws
can be caused by settlement or other failure in the lower pavement layers or by poor
construction techniques.