Minnesota Department of Transportation
Due to an increase in demand to shorten construction time as much as possible, the purpose of this project was to determine the optimum strength for concrete pavement before opening it to traffic and without jeopardizing long-term performance. Six test cells in MnDOT's MnROAD project were constructed in 2017 with varying degrees of early loading. Various tests were performed during and immediately following construction and, four years later, ride quality and load transfer efficiency were used to quantify long-term damage. A finite element analysis was then performed using ISLAB2000 to determine the effects of load location and temperature gradient on the Portland cement concrete (PCC) longitudinal stresses to explain the absence of premature failure. A mechanistic-based early opening damage analysis procedure was created to determine the optimum timing for opening of a concrete pavement to traffic. The procedure accounts for the effect of site conditions and pavement characteristics. A web-based tool was developed to facilitate implementation of this procedure.
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