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South Dakota Department of Transportation
Project Synopsis

Title: Modeling & Calibration of SDDOT Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Criteria
Project Researcher: Gill Hedman, SDDOT
Project Manager: Christina Bennett
Research Period: 2/12/2008 - 6/30/2013
Status: Approved
Cost: $0.00

Problem Statement: A Mechanistic-Empirical (M-E) pavement design process, including elements of the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) models for long-term pavement performance (LTPP) and materials control, is currently being presented by the FHWA for adoption by AASHTO. The M-E Pavement Design Guide elements are based on NCHRP Project 1-37A, which is a coordinated and cooperative effort to improve the state of the practice for pavement design by developing a process that incorporates advances in pavement design, particularly in moving design principles from empirical based methods to mechanistic-empirical procedures.

The current pavement design method utilized by the SDDOT is extensively based on empirical standards developed by the AASHO road test conducted in the late 1950's and early 1960's. Climatic limitations, advancements in material science, and ever-changing vehicular designs, as well as ever-increasing traffic volumes and weight distributions, have all served to make these types of empirical data archaic. The SDDOT has initiated, and is currently pursuing a research project evaluating incorporation of the M-E/PDG.

The M-E Pavement Design Guide will tie together structural design, materials selection and construction parameters assuring that design criteria have been met or exceeded. Many ranges of inputs are available in the M-E/PDG pavement design process, including those that can be tailored and adjusted for South Dakota's unique materials, traffic, and climatic conditions, with the ultimate aims being to improve pavement designs, extend the pavement service lifespan, and thereby foster more cost effective pavement solutions.


Research Objectives:
1  To follow through with the SDDOT M-E/PDG Implementation Plan, which serves as a "road map" outlining the types of activities the Department will need to complete over the next 5 years to ready itself for adopting and implementing the M-E/PDG as the p

Research Tasks:
1  Form a SDDOT MEPDG Implementation Team.
2  Develop a communication plan for M-E/PDG Implementation.
3  Conduct M-E/PDG training, timed as appropriate for relevant personnel.
4  Review and appraise M-E/PDG software relative to its performance for South Dakota materials, soils, climate, traffic, and other conditions.
5  Obtain necessary testing equipment to implement the M-E/PDG at the targeted M-E/PDG input levels.
6  Develop formal M-E/PDG-related documentation specific to the SDDOT.
7  Collect relevant data, develop, and populate a central database(s) with required M-E/PDG input values.
8  Resolve differences between the M-E/PDG predicted distresses and those currently collected for the SDDOT pavement management system.
9  Calibrate and validate M-E/PDG performance prediction models to local conditions.
10  Define the long-term plan for adopting the M-E/PDG design procedure as the official SDDOT pavement design method.
11  Develop a design catalog for M-E pavement design procedures at the SDDOT.

Documents Available:

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