Spring in Wyoming is when pavement distresses typically grow from what could have been an issue that was barely recognizable, to a pothole that needs attention. At Advanced Geotechnical Solutions, we spend a large portion of the Spring season looking down at pavement distresses. Here are a few of the basics: 

Transverse cracks: cracks that extend partially or completely across the roadway. Typically caused from shrinkage of asphalt during winter months. If sealed, these cracks do not usuallycause severe problems, but do lower the International Roughness Index (IRI) of the roadway.  

Figure 1. Transverse crack with developed fatigue cracking 

Longitudinal cracks: cracks that run parallel with roadway. Can be caused from several problems and are generally defined as either wheel path or non-wheel path. Wheel path longitudinal cracks are usually one of the first signs that the pavement structure is not sufficient to support the traffic load. If left unaddressed, these cracks will likely increase in severity and lead to eventual fatigue cracking.  

Figure 2. Longitudinal cracks in process of developing fatigue cracking 

Fatigue cracking: AKA alligator cracking because it resembles the patchwork cracks that are found on an alligator. At this point, the pavement structure has failed. Major rehabilitation such as structural overlays, full depth patching, or complete reconstruction are required to rehabilitate the pavement and restore rideability.  

Figure 3. Several fatigue cracking and patching 

The main issue with any of these cracks is that precipitation that would normally be drained to the road ditch is now allowed to soak into the pavement section and reduce the strength of the structure. This in turn exacerbates the distress. So keep an eye on your roads now and throughout the summer, and perform routine maintenance to keep your pavements in good shape.  

We have performed pavement analyses for small and large projects so you can rest assured that we can help you maintain your pavements as well! Please give us a call at 307-439-5439.