Keywords: pavement forensic investigations, pavement performance, pavement failures, pavement longevity, highway pavements, roads, investigation guide
A rational approach for conducting highway pavement forensic investigations
Forensic investigations of highway pavements are generally conducted to investigate premature failures, but there are other reasons for conducting them, such as understanding exceptional pavement performance. Although frequently conducted, research was needed to identify and evaluate current investigation practices, and to develop a rational process that considers relevant factors and provides a means for conducting them. Under NCHRP Project 01–49, a 'Guide for Conducting Forensic Investigations of Highway Pavements' was developed. In doing so, traditional and innovative investigative processes were identified and evaluated, and the best practices were incorporated into a rational guide. The process contained in the guide is structured in three phases to allow review after each phase and to identify the most appropriate actions for subsequent phases, thus optimising resources. The process is supplemented by examples of investigations to illustrate the application of the guide. Both the guide and its development are discussed in this paper.