When county officials decided to place a 1.25 mile concrete overlay in Manitowoc County, WI, it was with the understanding the pavement would last about 10 years.  The pavement, at 19 years, is still in service, which is remarkable considering it’s only 4 in. thick through most of the section.

Kevin McMullen and Jackie Spoor of the Wisconsin Concrete Pavement Association, along with Jerry Voigt of ACPA National, had an opportunity to inspect the pavement recently.

Kevin attributes the overlay’s longevity to several factors. “It has good grade, the shoulders are in good condition and there’s no heaves or sign of collapsing, and there are really no changes in the overlay,” he says. “It just keeps taking loads as it’s intended to do.”

Kevin credits the County Commissioner at the time, Gary Kennedy, for his efforts in providing accurate traffic counts, including truck traffic, and for supporting the decision to use concrete.

The two-lane concrete overlay was placed on County Trunk Highway “R” (Rapids Road) from Menasha Ave. to Waldo Blvd. The fiber-reinforced concrete overlay was placed over an existing asphalt overlay, which had been placed on the original concrete highway.

Vinton Construction Company constructed the project, and Kevin credits communication between the contractor and the county as an important factor in the success of the pavement. The pavement runs through a residential area that also has a few restaurants and a Vinton plant at one end of the section.

One lane was closed to traffic for construction, leaving one lane open to traffic at all times. One lane of traffic was kept open at all times, and the paved sections were re-opened to traffic within 24 hours.

The contractor completed the paving in three days—two days in one direction and one day in the other direction to pave the 14-ft sections (11 ft.-wide lanes and 3 ft. shoulders). The project was the recipient of a “Gold” award in the 2002 ACPA “Excellence in Concrete Pavement Awards,” and has endured with little to no maintenance.

Even so, the pavement is ready to be rehabilitated. “The pavement is fatigued,” Kevin says, adding that he is working with the current County Commissioner Marc Holsen, who has been collecting pavement cores and soil borings, and covering the basics necessary to ensure the next pavement solution is a durable one.

“We’re working through details on designs and other recommendations,” Kevin says. While it’s too early to tell what the final solution will be, the aim is to provide a pavement solution that may exceed its design life.