Water Damage to Asphalt Overlays: Case Histories
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Water Damage to Asphalt Overlays: Case Histories

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      Numerous papers have been published on the phenomenon of stripping, especially on the possible causes of stripping, methods for predicting stripping potential of asphalt paving mixtures, and use of additives to minimize or prevent stripping. However, very few papers have evaluated this phenomenon considering the subsurface drainage in the total highway pavement system. Three case histories of water damage to asphalt overlays over portland cement concrete (PCC) pavements during the last ten years in Pennsylvania have been presented. Field observations have been documented in detail. Pavement layer samples were obtained using a jack hammer (rather than a core drill), thus avoiding the use of water, so that in-situ observations of water damage, actual moisture content determination in each layer, and study of subsurface water and/or water vapor migration in the pavement system could be accomplished. Cores from one project were also analyzed for tensile strength to assess the moisture induced damage. These case histories indicate that in many cases the stripping of asphalt pavements may not be a general phenomenon occurring on the entire project but rather a localized phenomenon in areas of the project which are oversaturated with water and/or water vapor due to inadequate subsurface drainage conditions. Recommendations have been made to improve the existing subsurface drainage system of the PCC pavements prior to placing the asphalt overlays so that persistent problems of stripping and/or potholing do not occur. Recommendations include the use of Asphalt Treated Permeable Material (ATPM), increased depth of longitudinal underdrains in cut sections, and lateral intercepting drains on grades.
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