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Section 3: District Pavement Engineer’s Role

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3.1 History

The district pavement engineer (DPE) is a licensed professional engineer who serves as the district point of contact for the evaluation, preservation, and structural design of pavements. This position was formalized by the department in 1993 as a district-level staff position.

The DPE serves as the coordinator for district staff. The DPE’s responsibilities include planning activities, such as, forensic studies; participating in design concept conferences; reviewing performance histories of materials; studying processes for pavement construction; maintaining databases for subgrade and pavement material stiffness or structural properties; assessing pavement performance with maintenance staff; and coordinating design strategies for pavement rehabilitation with district staff.

The development of the pavement design and rehabilitation strategies should jointly involve material engineers, maintenance engineers, planning engineers, construction engineers, design engineers and area engineer staff.

The DPE should also coordinate and participate in the development of district pavement preservation plans in conjunction with district maintenance plans.

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3.2 Responsibilities

The DPE is responsible for:

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  • producing cost-effective district structural pavement designs and reviewing district pavement design reports for technical content
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  • recommending pavement preservation policies to maximize the condition of district pavements within budget constraints
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  • identifying pavement-related research needs, and
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  • participating in technology transfer and pavement- related training activities (refer to "Job Functions for the District Pavement Engineer").

The DPE is charged with being the district expert on all matters pertaining to:

The DPE may be asked to direct the activities of the district’s pavement data collection efforts (visual distress, rut/ride, deflection surveys). These data collection efforts are integral to maintaining the network-level Pavement Management Information System (PA) and in evaluating project-level structural properties.

Because of the importance of understanding material properties and evaluation of materials used in pavements, some districts have assigned DPE duties to the district lab/materials engineer.

An expanded list of DPE responsibilities is shown below.

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I. Produce cost effective project level designs for new, rehabilitated, and reconstructed pavements based on best practices and life-cycle cost analysis.

  1. Perform detailed investigations, data collection, and analysis including
    • Pavement distress
    • Structural integrity (deflections)
    • Roughness
    • Geology
    • Subgrade Classification
    • Confirmation of Percent Trucks in the Traffic Stream
    • Vehicle/Axle Load Characteristics
    • Vehicle Configurations
    • Availability and suitability of local materials
    • Availability and suitability of recycled materials
    • Determine available and/or needed funding
    • Identify alternative designs
    • Define selection criteria/objectives
    • Perform life-cycle costs on alternatives
    • Select most cost effective alternative which meets criteria/objectives
  2. Produce typical section and detailed pavement design report
  3. Maintain/update the District Pavement SOP by September 1st annually
  4. Schedule and Participate in District Pavement Design Concept conferences

II. Recommend pavement preservation policies to maximize condition of the system within District budget constraints.

  1. Produce annual report on existing condition of highway system within the District
  2. Produce four year budget projection/needs for pavement preservation projects
  3. Perform analyses on effect of changes in funding, vehicle weights, axle configurations, suspension types, tire pressures, environmental conditions, legislative mandates, and preservation policies on the highway system, etc.
  4. Assist and provide direct input into the development of the District Project Development Plan (PDP)
  5. Evaluate effect of current and proposed rehabilitation and maintenance practices, new materials and materials testing specifications, and new construction processes, etc.

III. Identify pavement related research needs.

  1. Identify pavement problem areas needing research
  2. Submit annual research problem statements
  3. Participate in research problem statement ranking process
  4. Support statewide pavement related research projects by serving as Technical Chairman or Technical Panel Member when requested
  5. Review research projects and reports and assist in implementation of products
  6. Participate in research meetings

IV. Participate in Technology Transfer and Training Activities.

  1. Participate in annual Short Course Pavement sessions
  2. Assist in departmental training in pavements

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3.3 District Pavement Engineer (DPE) Skills

A list of required and recommended training courses is given in Table 2-1. To develop the final pavement thickness design, courses have been identified to provide the basic skills necessary for engineers to understand the design process and complete viable, cost conscious pavement design.

The DPE or other district staff may develop a design; however, it is suggested that the DPE and other key district staff review pavement design inputs, material requirements, strategies, and thickness prior to the final PS&E submission (e.g., Pavement Design Concept Conference).

Newly assigned DPEs are encouraged to schedule attendance of the required training sessions for flexible and rigid pavement design as soon as practical.

Anchor: #i1006540Table 2-1: Required and Recommended Training for the District Pavement Engineer





Flexible Structure Evaluation

Designed as a workshop and is combined with FPS 21 training. Combined training is usually arranged at district request to MNT – Pavement Asset Management. Hands-on approach used to emphasize evaluation techniques, capabilities, and limitations of the software. A 2 1/2-day period should be scheduled.

Required for flexible pavement design.

FPS 21

Flexible Structural Design

As above.

Required for flexible pavement design.

Visual Distress Rater’s Course



Identification of visual distress:

  • concrete distress
  • flexible distress

The goals are:

  • understand the Texas Reference Marker System and know how it is used to identify and locate PMIS (PA) section in the field
  • read a PMIS (PA) section list and automated rating form to identify the sections
  • complete an automated rating form
  • identify the distresses rated for concrete (CON 110) or flexible (CON 111) pavements
  • conduct visual distress ratings for PMIS (PA). Contact the Maintenance Division, Pavement Asset Preservation Section for assistance.

PMIS Concepts for Administrators CON107


The goals are:

  • identify the types of pavement evaluation data available in the new PMIS (PA)
  • describe the differences between network-level and project-level pavement management, and explain how PMIS can be used to support both
  • interpret PMIS (PA) data and scores
  • use new PMIS (PA) program to monitor pavement condition, estimate total pavement needs, and assess the overall level of service provided by pavement maintenance.

*Course material required for certification can be found on the Pavement Management Information System webpage.

PMIS Data Interpretation and Analysis CON109


The goals are:

  • use PMIS (PA) data to diagnose surface and sub-surface pavement problems
  • define and interpret the five PMIS (PA) scores
  • produce three PMIS (PA) analysis reports.

*Course material description can be found on the Pavement Management Information System webpage.

Pavement Analyst (PA)


Web-based software that allows the user to plot various pavement condition indicators on district maps. Formal training is available on request.

Ride Quality Software

Pavement Evaluation – Roughness (IRI)

Software available at The DPE may receive guidance on how to use the Ride Quality evaluation software by contacting the Maintenance Division, Pavement Asset Preservation Section.

TxCRCP-ME, DARWin® 3.1

Rigid Structural Design

Designed as a workshop. Contact MNT – Pavement Asset Management, Pavement Analysis and Design Branch.

Required for rigid pavement design.

Materials Course

Materials Properties

National Highway Institute (NHI) sponsored web-based course addressing fundamental properties and testing of highway materials (NHI 131117).

TxDOT Materials Academy

Materials properties

Five-week web-based and classroom course. Contact MNT – Pavement Asset Management Section for more information.

Selecting Rehabilitation Strategies for Flexible Pavements

Rehab of existing pavements

Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) administered course taught through an interagency contract (IAC). This course is hands-on oriented – uses department software. Contact MNT – Pavement Asset Management, Pavement Analysis and Design Branch for more information or refer to Crossroads, Maintenance Division, Pavement Engineering link to download the course.

Selecting Rehabilitation Strategies for Concrete Pavements

Rehab of existing pavements

Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) administered course taught through an interagency contract (IAC). This course is hands-on oriented – uses department software. Contact MNT – Pavement Asset Management, Pavement Analysis and Design Branch for more information or refer to Crossroads, Maintenance Division, Pavement Engineering link to download the course.

Other NHI Web-based Opportunities

Multiple (pavement preservation, maintenance, recycling, pavement materials, etc.)

Frequently updated; most courses are free after setting up an account:

*Available through the TxDOT Intranet only.

New PMIS (PA) program and pavement design assistance from MNT – Pavement Asset Management will be provided upon request.

The DPE list is also posted on the Maintenance Division website, Pavement Preservation link.

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