Reflective cracking, hma overlays, rehabilitation, survey, decision tree


Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) overlay is a major rehabilitation treatment for the existing deteriorated pavements (both flexible and rigid pavements). Reflective cracking (RC) is the most common distress type appearing in the HMA overlays which structurally and functionally degrades the whole pavement structure, especially under high traffic volume. Although many studies have been conducted to identify the best performing RC mitigation technique, the level of success varies from premature failure to good performance in the field. In Florida, Asphalt Rubber Membrane Interlayers (ARMIs) have been used as a RC mitigation technique but its field performance has not been successful. In this study, the best performing means to mitigate RC in the overlays considering Florida’s special conditions have been investigated. The research methodology includes (1) extensive literature reviews regarding the RC mechanism and introduced mitigation options, (2) nationwide survey for understanding the current practice of RC management in the U.S., and (3) the development of decision trees for the selection of the best performing RC mitigation method. Extensive literature reviews have been conducted to identify current available RC mitigation techniques and the advantages and disadvantages of each technique were compared. Lesson learned from the collected case studies were used as input for the selection of the best performing RC mitigation techniques for Florida’s roads. The key input parameters in selecting optimum mitigation techniques are: 1) overlay characterization, 2) existing pavement condition, 3) base and subgrade structural condition, 4) environmental condition and 5) traffic level. In addition, to understand the current iv practices how reflective cracking is managed in each state, a nationwide survey was conducted by distributing the survey questionnaire (with the emphasis on flexible pavement) to all other highway agencies. Based on the responses, the most successful method of treatment is to increase the thickness of HMA overlay. Crack arresting layer is considered to be in the second place among its users. Lack of cost analysis and low rate of successful practices raise the necessity of conducting more research on this subject. Considering Florida’s special conditions (climate, materials, distress type, and geological conditions) and the RC mechanism, two RC mitigation techniques have been proposed: 1) overlay reinforcement (i.e. geosynthetic reinforcement) for the existing flexible pavements and 2) Stress Absorbing Membrane Interlayer (SAMI) for the existing rigid pavements. As the final products of this study, decision trees to select an optimum RC mitigation technique for both flexible and rigid pavements were developed. The decision trees can provide a detailed guideline to pavement engineer how to consider the affecting parameters in the selection of RC mitigation technique.


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Graduation Date





Nam, Boo Hyun


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering

Degree Program

Civil Engineering; Structures and Geotechnical Engineering








Release Date

December 2014

Length of Campus-only Access

1 year

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Engineering and Computer Science, Engineering and Computer Science -- Dissertations, Academic