Cost/Benefit Analysis of the Effectiveness of Crack Sealing Techniques

Principal Investigator:

Manik Barman, Assistant Professor, UMD-Civil Engineering

Project Summary:

Crack sealing and filling minimize the intrusion of water into underlying layers of the asphalt pavement structure. They also contribute to extending the service life of the pavement. Clean-and-seal and rout-and-seal crack sealing methods are used in Minnesota to seal working cracks in asphalt pavements. Non-working cracks are repaired with crack filling. In the clean-and-seal method, the cracks are treated by blowing out the debris and then sealing the cracks with sealants. In the rout-and-seal method, a reservoir is prepared centering the existing cracks before pouring the sealants. Among the different crack repairing methods, the rout-and-seal method is relatively expensive and time-consuming. Some states like Ohio and Colorado do not perform this method. Even though some studies indicate enhanced performance of rout-and-seal method, the actual cost-effectiveness of this method over the other crack repairing methods is not clear. Because of this, pavement engineers often face the challenge of judging the right type of crack sealing method for their job. The main objective of this study is to compare the cost-effectiveness of different crack sealing methods. A literature study will be conducted to recognize the state-of-the-art practices regarding construction techniques. Crack sealing performance data of Minnesota asphalt pavements will be collected through an electronic survey, field visits, and face-to-face interviews with the field engineers. The cost-effectiveness of crack sealing methods will be studied by comparing the net present value (NPV) of different pavement preservation alternatives performed with different crack sealing methods. A draft recommendation will be developed on the selection criteria of crack sealing methods. Crack sealing method can be selected as a function of pavement type, functional condition, pavement age, and traffic characteristics, etc.

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