Chapter 2: Pavement Design Process

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Section 1: Introduction

TxDOT spends more than 50% of the annual construction and maintenance budget on pavements. Because of funding limitations, only a portion of pavement-related needs can be addressed. Given these facts, pavements should be designed using the approved pavement design methods specified in Approved Pavement Design Methods. In general, these methods are classified as either:

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  • an analytical process with accurate design inputs or
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  • past proven practices (experience-based) that may not meet conventional analytical design standards, but, have a proven performance track record.

The objectives of the pavement design process are to guide the district pavement engineer (DPE) to select a pavement type and design the pavement with an approved method using all the information needed to provide a structure that is capable of carrying traffic loads with minimum physical deterioration, maximum safety, and maximum ride comfort. The designer should document the pavement design process in a report format as discussed in Pavement Design Reports.

Preliminary Pavement Design

A preliminary pavement design needs to be performed during the early phase of project development. This step ensures that a viable design is generated, balancing risk while ensuring adequate funding rather than allowing the project cost to dictate the pavement design. Preliminary design considerations are then discussed at a district level Pavement Design Concept Conference.

Pavement Design Concept Conference

Pavement Design Concept Conferences are used to refine initial considerations and allow development of an approved design and design report. The Pavement Design Concept Conference can be held in conjunction with other early stage project planning meetings that include participation of key district personnel.

Pavement Design Standard Operating Procedure

Each district is required to maintain and update a pavement design standard operating procedure (SOP). The SOP will formalize district communication channels in the pavement design process and document typical design and rehabilitation strategies based on material availability, traffic levels, environmental conditions, and an appropriate level of risk management. The SOP will also establish the final authority for pavement design within the district.


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