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Concrete pavements have been utilized for all types of pavement applications including roadways, highways, parking facilities, industrial facilities and airfields. Concrete pavements offer a long-life, low-maintenance alternative for all pavement applications. The first concrete road was built in 1893 in Bellefontaine, OH and it is still in service today. Since that pioneering project, concrete pavements have been refined into three primary structural types:
- Jointed plain concrete pavement (JPCP)
- Jointed reinforced concrete pavement (JRCP)
- Continuously reinforced concrete pavement (CRCP)
The primary item that distinguishes between JPCP, JRCP, and CRCP is the jointing system used to control crack development. JPCP utilizes joints to control where cracks develop and then rely on aggregate interlock and, in many cases dowel bars to transfer the load from one slab to the next. CRCP allows the pavement to crack more randomly, but utilizes an increased amount of steel (approximately 0.65-0.80% by cross-sectional area) as reinforcement to ensure the cracks remain extremely tight (approximately > 0.02 inches) throughout the pavement's life. JRCP is an intermediate between JPCP and CRCP as it utilizes joints and dowel bars, similar to JPCP, while also featuring reinforcing steel to keep cracks tight between the joints. JRCP is not typically used in the United States as JPCP has become the norm in most areas and CRCP continually being used in some areas as well.
Since JPCP does not require any reinforcement, it can utilize a variety of different materials including pervious concrete and roller-compacted concrete. These specialized forms of undoweled JPCP utilize different material proportions and construction methods to gain unique properties. Pervious concrete pavement can be utilized as a method of stormwater management and is typically utilized in parking areas and occasionally on local roads and shoulders. Roller-compacted concrete pavement utilizes a very dense mix structure to obtain high early strength through aggregate packing. Due to the altered mix design, RCC can not be placed using a conventional slip-form paver and is instead placed using a high-density paver and rollers to achieve the required density. RCC is typically utilized in parking areas, streets and local roads, and highway shoulders. RCC is not typically utilized for higher speed applications due to a rougher texture than conventional concrete pavements. RCC has also been utilized by industrial facilities due to it's high strength.
JPCP is the most common concrete pavement type specified by state highway agencies in the U.S. and Canada. Pavement design software can be used to design pavement alternatives for streets, roads, highways, airfields and industrial applications.