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Pavement Repair and Patching Techniques


NCHRP Synthesis Topic


Title: Pavement Repair and Patching Techniques


Submitted by: Anita Bush, P.E., C.P.M.

Chief Maintenance and Asset Management Engineer

Nevada Department of Transportation



Background: One of the most common reactive maintenance activities is pothole patching. The proliferation of potholes is common political fodder and the subject of many local editorial cartoons. The area of patching pavement repair and "pothole patching" is also of elevated interest to those involved in maintaining pavements.  SHRP H106, conducted during the early 1990's, included a nationwide field study of materials and methods for improved pothole repair.  Since then, there has not been any organized effort to document the current materials and methods used in patching/repair, capturing improvements and innovations made in the past 20 years. There is also a lack of understanding of the true costs of pavement repair.  Such information would be very useful in developing better pavement repair techniques for both portland cement concrete and bituminous pavements. A recent survey (January 2012) of States and Provinces using ListServ for AASHTO RAC Committee indicated that 71% of the respondents have no measure of performance for patching materials, while 77% indicated that there is such a need.  On a question related to any knowledge of a recent study related to patching materials, 87% answered no. This synthesis will bring together in one document the national experience in isolated pavement repair and patching.



Proposed Scope: The synthesis will survey state departments of transportation (DOT) as well as other public highway agencies to determine which ones use “pothole repair” in their maintenance/preservation programs and the level of use across the nation. Canadian province ministries of transportation and similar international agencies will also be queried. The literature on the subject will be surveyed to include agency specifications and manuals that may exist on the topic. From the results of the survey, 3 to 4 agencies from varying climatic regions will be selected and case studies of their pavement repair/ “pothole patching” programs will be developed for both pavement types. Information gathered will include but is not limited to:


¨         Current programs for Repair/ Patching (Cost/ Network mile)

¨         Pavement distress factors that make a project a good candidate for Repair/ Patching

o   guidelines to determine what works best in what scenarios or for different pavement needs

¨      Repair/ Patching material options

o   Binder (Portland cement and Asphalt)

o   Aggregate

¨      Review of public and private Repair/ Patching specifications including quality measurement practices such as, smoothness measures and density control for asphalt patching

¨      Repair/ Patching design and construction practices for manual repairs

¨      Traffic control requirements and practices for pavement repair/patching

¨      Repair/ Patching equipment including use of “hot-boxes” for winter-time and HMA patching and automated patching machines

¨      Life expectancy of Repair/ Patching and measures to track and report on pothole patches through use of systems such as, GPS and GIS mapping tools

¨      Cost Information (List of Cost factors)

¨      Ongoing research and needs


The scope includes practice by domestic and international transportation departments. Information will be gathered by literature review, survey of state DOTS (directed to the AASHTO SOM member) and Canadian provincial transportation agencies, and selected interviews (including with contractors).  International information will be gathered from the literature review.  The synthesis report will include examples of current effective practices. 


Information Sources

SHRP H106 Innovative Materials


National Center for Pavement Preservation, NCPP Reference Library http://www.pavementpreservation.org/reference/

Foundation for Pavement Preservation http://www.fp2.org/


Submitted by: TRB Committee AHD20, Pavement Maintenance

                         TRB Committee AFD70, Pavement Rehabilitation

                         TRB Committee AHD18, Pavement Preservation



Lloyd R. Neeley, P.E.

Engineer for Maintenance

Utah Department of Transportation and

Anita Bush, P.E., C.P.M.

Chief Maintenance and Asset Management Engineer

Nevada Department of Transportation



Sponsoring Committee:AKT30, Pavement Maintenance
Source Info:AHD20 Pavement Maintenance Committee
Date Posted:02/16/2012
Date Modified:02/18/2012
Index Terms:Pavements, Potholes (Pavements), Patching, Maintenance, Repair materials,
Cosponsoring Committees:AFD70, Pavement Rehabilitation; AKT20, Pavement Preservation
Maintenance and Preservation

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