Improved Understanding of Pavements Impacts and Cost-Effective Designs Based on Mechanistic-Empirical Methods

The specialized trucks used in the oil industry today are vastly different from the traditional ones used to transport grain and other commodities produced in rural regions. The continuous operation of heavy trucks poses great challenges to the state of good repair, especially in areas of suboptimal soils and freeze-thaw cycles. Roads designed to last for 20 years under traditional truck traffic are lasting five years under intense oil-related movements. Oilfield pavement analyses conducted thus far have utilized adjustments to traditional design procedures (e.g., AASHTO 1993) based on equivalent single axle load (ESAL) factors originally derived from road test. Several studies have been claimed that traffic is a controversial parameter in the 1993 AASHTO Guide. The fact that the guide relies on a single value (e.g. ESAL) to represent the overall traffic spectrum is questionable have found that ESAL, used to quantify damage equivalency in terms of serviceability or even deflections in the 1993 AASHTO Guide, is not enough to represent the complex failure modes of flexible pavements. Today it is widely accepted that load equivalency factor is not a sufficient technique for incorporating mixed traffic into design equations. In addition, the trucks used during the AASHTO road tests are modest in comparison to the trucks utilized in the oil industry today. To address some of the limitation of its original design guide, AASHTO developed a new Mechanistic Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG). It combines mechanistic and empirical methodologies by making use of calculations of pavement responses such as stress, strain, and deformation using site specific inputs from climate, material and traffic properties. Moreover, it allows incorporating traffic changes into the MEPDG procedure by adjusting and validating the calibration coefficients to consider the potential traffic change. With the new guide, various implementation challenges must be overcome by agencies wanting to use it. The primary objective of this project is to facilitate the implementation of the newly developed MEPDG so that roads serving the energy industry can be designed to carry the very heavy and unique traffic associated with drilling activities. In addition, regional strategies for mitigating the impact of drilling activities on local roads will be investigated. Initiating a regional effort of this type will ensure more effective allocation of limited resources to impacted local governments. In addition, ensuring the adequacy of local roads will provide oil and gas industries with the means to get equipment to drilling sites and deliver their products efficiently to markets year round.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $300000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Kline, Robin

  • Performing Organizations:

    Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute

    1320 Albrecht Blvd.
    Fargo, ND  United States  58102

    University of Wyoming, Laramie

    1000 E University Avenue, Department 3295
    Laramie, WY  United States  82071
  • Principal Investigators:

    Lu, Pan

    Tolliver, Denver

    Ksaibati, Khaled

  • Start Date: 20120101
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20150105
  • Source Data: MPC-376

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01483291
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Mountain-Plains Consortium
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT12-G-UTC08
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Jun 6 2013 1:03AM