Damage Quantification of Energy Developing Areas of South Texas Using the Axle Load Spectra

Carlos Licon, University of Texas at El Paso


Advances in technology, particularly in crude oil extraction, natural gas production, wind energy farms, and other pertinent industries have contributed to exponential growth in energy development activities. In Texas, this energy boomed created large volumes of Over-Size/Over-Weight (OS/OW) truck traffic operations that adversely affected the service life of the transportation infrastructure in the network. This study focused on characterizing the traffic operations in overweight corridors and energy sector zones of South Texas in order to properly quantify the damage induced by overweight vehicles on the pavement structures. To achieve this, the Axle Load Spectra (ALS) database was developed through deployment of portable Weigh-in-motion (WIM) devices on ten selected highways. In addition, nondestructive tests such as Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and Falling Weight Deflectometer (FWD) test were conducted on the representative pavement sections to obtain site-specific pavement characteristics. The data collected from portable WIM devices, FWD, and GPR tests were incorporated into the Texas Mechanistic-Empirical pavement design (TxME) to run numerical simulations to predict the service life of each highway. The different methods used to incorporate the traffic information (i.e. Axle Load Spectra, ESALs, and Default TxME traffic values) showed significant differences in the predicted service life of the representative highways. The results showed that utilizing the Axle Load Spectra of a site-specific highway in the service life analysis led to the most accurate prediction in service life, while using the default TxME traffic values led to the worst prediction in service life.

Subject Area

Transportation|Civil engineering

Recommended Citation

Licon, Carlos, "Damage Quantification of Energy Developing Areas of South Texas Using the Axle Load Spectra" (2019). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI22617005.