Longitudinal cracking distress on continuously reinforced concrete pavements in Illinois

Jeffery R. Roesler, John S. Popovics, Joni L. Ranchero, Matt Mueller, David Lippert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) initiated a failure investigation to determine the distress mechanisms causing premature longitudinal cracking on continuously reinforced concrete pavements (CRCP) on several Illinois interstates. The longitudinal cracking approximately followed the embedded reinforcement steel and occurred in both the driving and passing lanes. In this paper, the results from field visual surveys, coring, and petrographic analyses are reported along with a review of archival construction and material records of the distressed CRCP sections. A laboratory forensic study was also performed on several field extracted slabs. The results of the field and laboratory investigation show the cracking was not initiated by steel corrosion, deleterious reactions in the concrete materials, or an inadequate structural design. Rather, the cracking is related to settlement of the steel bars in the concrete. Settlement cracking is conventionally thought to occur only in concrete slabs and decks with plastic (high slump) concrete and small values of bar cover depth, while the studied CRCP sections have large values of cover depth and were cast with stiff (low slump) concrete. The settlement was likely caused by the relative settlement of heavy steel bars (22 mm diameter) within the lower density concrete during the original CRCP construction. The technique of placing the steel bars in the fresh concrete (called tube-feeding) further contributed to the development of this distress, and this practice is no longer employed by IDOT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-338
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Performance of Constructed Facilities
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • Concrete, reinforced
  • Cracking
  • Illinois
  • Pavements
  • Settlement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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