Improvements to IDOT’s Mechanistic Hot-Mix Asphalt Pavement Design Saves Dollars and Environment

Continual improvement has been the theme for the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) when it comes to hot-mix asphalt (HMA) pavement and mechanistic pavement design.

Mechanistic–empirical (M–E) design uses material properties, fatigue theory, and engineering mechanics to determine pavement response. Through variables such as traffic, soils support, climate, and selection of performance-graded (PG) asphalts, pavement thickness can be determined. Since the 1980s, when IDOT adopted M–E design, IDOT and UIUC have monitored and evaluated the resulting pavements through a series of research projects culminating with Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT) project R27-60, “Mechanistic–Empirical Design, Implementation, and Monitoring for Flexible Pavements.” Based on that research, IDOT implemented additional improvements to the design and construction of full-depth HMA.

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