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WS 1: Pavement Design in Cold Regions

Cold Region Road Design Dilemma Example from Swedish Road Design
Code.

By Carl Lenngren, Lund University

INTRODUCTION
Thedesignofpavementstendstothickinordertosustainfrostheaveandparticularly
unevensettlementsatspringthaw.Typicallymostroadsincoldregiononlycarrylimited
amountsoftraffic.Thustheinvestmentcostisrelativelyhighforthesetypesofroads,and
theamountofmaterialmovedishighpervehicletonstravelled.
Roughroadsinducehighusercoststhough.Inthepresentpresentationadiscussionis
carriedonhowtobalancethecoldregionpavementdesignwiththefundsavailablefor
investmentandtheassociatedusercosts.
Asinothercountries,Swedishdesigncodestemmedfromempiricalknowledge.By1968the
designcombattedtwoconcerns,trafficandtheenvironment.Trafficwashandledby
calculatingtheequivalentnumberofstandardaxlesoveradesignperiod.Theenvironment
consistedoftheclimateandthenaturalsoilconditions.Laterondrainagewasaddedasan
environmentalfactorofconcern.Originally,thetrafficdesignwascontrolledbyadjustingthe
thicknessofthebasecourselayer.Theenvironmentaldesignwascontrolledbythethickness
ofthesubbaselayer.Asthecriteriaforthesubbaselayerwasgraduallyimproved,other
layerswereintroduced,likefrostprotectionlayersetcetera.Thesemayineffectbe
consideredaslowergradesubbaselayers.
In1986thethicknessesweretabulatedforthevariouscategoriesofclimatezones,soil
materialsanddrainage.Thestrainsatcriticalpointswerecalculatedusinglinearelastic
programslikeBISARtoderivethevariousdesignstructures.Upuntilthen,thethaw
weakeningperiodduringthespringwasconsideredtobecriticalfortheentiredesign.
By1994amoredirectapproachtothestraincriteriawastakenwherethesituationduring
sixseasonswasconsidered.However,thefrostdesignnowwasaddedasaterminthe
equationindependentofthestraincriteria.Thisdesignisbasedonfrostheaveandthe
weightoftheroad.
Thestraincriteriaarebasedonfatigueofboundlayersandpermanentdeformationrateasa
regressionofthetopofthesubgradeverticalstrain.Inadditionthereisacriterionfor
roughnessbasedonthedesignspeedandroadcategory.

PROBLEM
Fromauserpointofview,theexpectedtravellingcostshouldbeaboutthesameforthe
sametypeofroadcategoryregardlessofthelocation.However,theroadholdercost
particularlyregardingtheinvestmentismuchhigherincoldclimates.Iftheusercostcriteria
arepersisteditmaydefernewinvestmentsincoldclimateareas.
Thenewconceptsofdesignshouldallowforalargervariationoflayerthicknessesand
qualitiesandthereisalsospecificsoftwarefurnishedbythetransportadministrationto
assistroaddesignconsultants.Lowvolumeroadsarenowdesignedthicker.Thismeansa
substantialcostincreaseforatypeofroadthatalreadyhasaverylowproductionperunit
invested.Typically,incoldregionsthepopulationdensityissparse.Anassetmanagement
systemmaynotprioritizeroadswithhighinvestmentcosts.Thequestionthenarisesifthe
ambitionistoohighwiththecurrentcriteria?
CONCLUSION
Thecostsforbuildingandmaintainingroadsincoldclimatescanbeenormousifusercosts
onlygovernthedesign.Somehowitisnotjustifiabletofullycompensatetravelcostswith
roadholdercostsbeingmorethan100hundredtimeshigherperkmorton*kmbeing
travelledfortheroadholder.Theextracostsforrougherroadsmusttosomeextentbe
takenbytheusers.Thereisalimitforroughnessthough.AttheIRIinterval34m/kmroads
with20100trucksperdaywouldincursuchhighusercoststhatthehigherinvestments
wouldbemotivated.Fewroadsshouldhavehigherroughnessvaluesthan6m/kmashigher
maintenancecostcouldbemotivated.

ITEMS TO BE DISCUSSED
Obviously,frostheaveandunevenfrostheaveacceleratepavementdeterioration.Itcanbe
measuredasroughness.Theroughnessinturncanbeattributedtousercosts.Isit
reasonabletoinvestinaheavierstructuretofullycompensatetheusercosts?Orshouldthe
designallowforasomewhathigherdeteriorationtooptimizethetotal(roadholderand
user)costs?