Infrasense Surveys Interstate 93 Viaduct Outside Boston to Detect Asphalt Thickness Using Ground Penetrating Radar

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Infrasense has recently performed a subsurface pavement structure investigation of a 1-mile long viaduct on Interstate 93 just north of Boston. The objective of the investigation was to determine the average asphalt thickness in each driving lane of the viaduct for future pavement rehabilitation efforts.

Infrasense, a Boston-based company, scanned parts of I-93 leading into and out of the city.

Infrasense, Inc. recently completed a subsurface pavement structure investigation of both directions of a 1-mile long viaduct just north of Boston on Interstate 93. This viaduct leads directly into Boston, and minimal traffic interruption of this corridor is a priority. Infrasense used a high-speed ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey to detect the asphalt layers in each driving lane and shoulder of the viaduct without disrupting normal traffic flow. The results of this investigation were delivered graphically in the form of color contour thickness maps, which will be used to plan future resurfacing of the viaduct. The GPR survey provided more detailed information than traditional coring methods without the closure of any lanes or disruption of any traffic.

The pavement structure data was collected with a dual air-coupled radar antenna setup manufactured by Geophysical Survey Systems Inc. (GSSI). Distance data was collected synchronously with GPR data using an electronic distance measuring instrument (DMI). Data collection was performed at night in just 2 hours at driving speed.

Infrasense has played a key role in the development and implementation of GPR for pavement assessments over the past 25 years. Currently, the most common application of this state-of-the-art technology is the determination of pavement layer thickness because, unlike traditional coring, GPR requires no lane closures and provides a timely and cost-effective means of collecting continuous thickness data. This data may be used for network-level pavement management, project-level rehabilitation design, or quality assurance of newly constructed pavements. Infrasense surveys have covered over 10,000 lane miles of pavement. Projects range in size from our recent project in Cleveland, Ohio to a survey of over 1,500 miles of county roads in North Dakota working with the North Dakota State University's Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute.

At the network level, GPR can provide layer structure data used to identify homogeneous sections and to compute the remaining life of segments of the network. Computation of remaining life enables highway agencies to optimize their programming and planning of pavement rehabilitation. A number of agencies have implemented GPR at the network level, including the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) and the Oklahoma DOT.

At the project level, GPR data provides information that enables owner agencies and consultants optimize rehabilitation design by providing accurate information on the current pavement structure. GPR data is also used to implement pavement recycling by providing details on the thickness of the bound material and how it varies over the project length.

Many GPR pavement thickness studies focus on supporting FWD operations. Pavement strength evaluations using a Falling Weight Deflectometer (FWD) provide useful data to pavement engineers for estimating remaining life and planning rehabilitation. Accurate pavement layer thickness data enhances FWD pavement strength evaluations, because thickness data is required for calculation of the pavement moduli, and GPR can provide this continuous thickness information quickly and efficiently. Infrasense has provided pavement thickness data for 24 airports in South Carolina in order to supplement FWD testing on the runways, taxiways, and aprons, where limited access meant the high speed GPR surveys were especially suited for the job.

Layer thickness estimates are also useful for quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) for construction of new pavements and overlays. GPR can provide a faster and more complete means of nondestructively obtaining QA/QC data than coring. Inadequate layer thickness can be quickly identified, and construction pay factors may be determined.

About Infrasense, Inc.
Since 1987, Infrasense, Inc. has applied state-of-the-art technologies to address the most difficult challenges in subsurface scanning. Infrasense’s engineers are able to nondestructively extract critical information from a diverse range of structures. In addition to providing ongoing subsurface evaluation services to clients across the country, the firm has also conducted numerous research programs to advance the field of subsurface detection and non-destructive evaluation.

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Sarah Kelly
Infrasense, Inc.
+1 (781) 648-0440
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