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Quantifying Incremental Pavement Damage Caused by Overweight Trucks


Significant increases in commercial truck loadings across the Saskatchewan road network have resulted in accelerated damage to the provincial highway system. This accelerated damage has decreased the expected performance life of many of these roads and also increased maintenance and rehabilitation requirements and costs. Although provincial highways have maximum commercial legal load limits and most commercial carriers are compliant, it is inevitable that some trucks will exceed legal load limits. In the past, difficulties have been encountered in efforts to quantitatively account for incremental pavement damage due to overweight vehicles. This is due to the fact that road agencies typically employ empirical methods to design and assess roadway performance. With its aged state, the performance prediction of incremental damage on Saskatchewan highways resulting from commercial vehicle overloading is difficult to quantify using empirical highway design methods and pavement surface distress surveys. This study employed a mechanistic-based pavement analysis framework. Using Saskatchewan primary and secondary highway structural asset management data based on heavy weight deflectometer (HWD) network deflection data, the incremental damage from typical trucks operating on Saskatchewan highways was determined. In total, overloading the Saskatchewan highway network by 15 percent trucks (assuming 30,000 truck trips per day) province wide results in an overall daily cost of $621 per km per day and an overall annual cost of $226,677 per km per year. Based on the impact analysis carried out in this study, reducing the number of overweight trucks on Saskatchewan’s highway network could significantly reduce road damage costs. Savings will not only be seen in terms of preservation and rehabilitation costs, but also in overall structural performance of the road. 

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Diana Podborochynski
Curtis Berthelot
Ania Anthony
Brent Marjerison
Robin Litzenberger
Tim Kealy