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Installation and Initial Evaluation of Paving Fabric Interlayers for Mitigating Reflective Cracking in Pavements
Harikrishnan Nair, Ph.D., P.E., and Jhony Habbouche, Ph.D.
Jhony Habbouche
Jhony Habbouche
Harikrishnan Nair
Harikrishnan Nair
Year: 2019
VTRC No.: 20-R33

Propagation of cracks from existing pavements into a new asphalt concrete overlay (reflective cracking) is a major problem for both rigid and flexible pavements.  Reflective cracking in pavements compromises ride quality and reduces the service life of the pavement.  Reflective cracking of the asphalt layer over jointed concrete pavement is a perennial problem in Virginia and elsewhere.  State transportation agencies continue to try various available treatment methods to delay or prevent reflective cracking with corrective or restorative maintenance.  Some of those treatments include using paving fabric as an interlayer.  Virginia has anecdotal experience with paving fabric interlayers, but little well-documented history with which to assess performance.

The objective of this study was to establish a performance baseline for fabric interlayers in conjunction with asphalt concrete overlays on existing flexible, rigid, and composite pavements by documenting the installation and initial field performance of several projects in Virginia.  Two types of interlayer fabric were used.  One of the interlayers needed an asphalt leveling course for placement based on the manufacturer’s specifications.  As expected, all of the sections with interlayers are performing well. However, most of the sections were placed in 2017 and 2018, and hence the performance data are preliminary.  These sections need to be monitored continuously to track pavement distress and performance over time.  The cost of using interlayers in pavement ranged from $6.0 to $8.0 per square yard, depending on the type of fabric and installation method.  Long-term performance data are needed to assess the benefit-cost effectiveness of using paving fabric interlayers in pavements.