30 June 2001
REINFORCED CONCRETE PAVEMENT DESIGN
1. GENERAL. These designs are applicable to Army and Air Force pavements but will not normally
be used for Navy and Marine Corps projects. However, reinforced concrete may be considered for
special or unusual design conditions on a case-by-case basis and must be approved by the Naval
Facilities Engineering Command. The exception to this is in odd-shaped slabs and mismatched joints
where reinforcing is required.
2. BASIS FOR DESIGN - NAVY AND MARINE CORPS. Reinforced concrete pavements employ
longer joint spacings than plain concrete pavements. The cracks that develop from shrinkage, warping,
curling, and traffic load stresses are held together by reinforcement. Steel reinforcing is used to slow the
deterioration of cracks that develop in the concrete slab by holding these cracks tightly together to
maintain aggregate interlock. When approved for use, design procedures for Navy and Marine Corps
reinforced concrete pavements will be the same as for Army and Air Force reinforced pavements.
a. Thickness. The thickness design for reinforced concrete pavement is similar to plain concrete
pavement design, modified by the results of accelerated traffic tests. These tests demonstrate that the
required pavement thickness may be less than the required thickness of a plain concrete pavement that
provides equal performance. However, as thickness is reduced substantially, premature distress may
occur. Therefore, because of inconsistent performance of thin reinforced pavements, for new
construction, the thickness shall not be reduced from that determined for plain concrete.
b. Reinforcement. Reinforcing steel is usually required in both the transverse and longitudinal
directions. The steel may be deformed bars or welded wire fabric. Typical amounts of reinforcing range
from 0.05 to 0.25 percent area.
c. Joints. The maximum slab size for reinforced concrete pavements is a function of the slab
thickness, yield strength of the reinforcing steel, and the percent of reinforcement. Slab size is
commonly 7.6 meters (25 feet) square. All joints in reinforced concrete pavements, with the exception of
keyways and thickened-edge joints, are doweled. Dowels are effective in providing load transfer.
Alignment of the dowel bars and adequate consolidation around the dowel basket are critical factors.
3. BASIS FOR DESIGN - ARMY AND AIR FORCE. Steel reinforcement in the concrete provides
improved continuity across the cracks that develop because of environmental factors or induced loads.
The improved crack continuity results in better performance under traffic and less maintenance than an
equal thickness of plain concrete pavement. Thus, for equal performance, the thickness of reinforced
concrete pavement can be less than the thickness of plain concrete pavements. The design procedure
presented herein yields the thickness of reinforced concrete pavement and the percentage of steel
reinforcement required to provide the same performance as a predetermined thickness of plain concrete
pavement constructed on the same foundation condition. The procedure has been developed from full-
scale accelerated traffic testing. Failure is considered to be severe spalling of the concrete along the
cracks that develop during traffic.
4. USES FOR REINFORCED CONCRETE. Reinforced concrete pavement may be used as slabs on
grade or as overlay pavements for any traffic area of the airfield. Reinforcement may be used to reduce
the required thickness and permit greater spacing between joints. Its selection should be based upon