Interstate-95 Reconstruction, Wilmington, Delaware

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Overview: I-95 through Wilmington, Delaware is part of the heavily traveled mid-Atlantic corridor which connects New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC. A 2.7-mile segment of I-95 between the Wilmington Viaduct and U. S. Route 202 was slated for reconstruction by the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT). Performance problems in this stretch of road included mid-slab cracking, joint deterioration, and reflective cracks in an asphalt overlay installed during previous maintenance. GeoStructures conducted a pavement condition survey along with pavement stress modeling via the finite element method (FEM).

GeoStructures conducted a pavement condition survey and field exploration to assess the remaining life of the roadway. Initial Falling Weight Deflectometer (FWD) testing at 189 points showed fair to good joint efficiency and a normalized deflection of 2 to 7 mils. These results indicated negligible loss of support from the underlying dense silty sand subgrade. DelDOT provided trailer-mounted core drills for sampling the pavement layers and subgrade. Laboratory strengths of concrete and soil cement specimens were 6,000 psi and 2,000 psi, respectively. Petrographic analyses showed only minor alkali-silica-reaction (ASR).

Our analysis revealed that the remaining service life of the roadway could be extended 8 years with a 6-in. overlay, although overhead clearance would not permit a 6-in. overlay. To provide an alternative to total reconstruction, a reduced overlay with steel mesh reinforcement to retard reflective cracking was proposed. Pavement stresses were modeled using the finite element method (FEM). GeoStructures found that the mesh decreases tensile stresses and strains by 60%.

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