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Common Types of Asphalt Pavement Cracks

Now that winter is finally over, people welcome the spring season with open arms and big smiles on their faces. As the trees, flowers, plants, and animals burst back into life, everyone simply cannot wait to spend more time outside and have fun with their family and friends.

While we want to travel and witness the explosion of lively and vivid colours brought by spring, unfortunately, winter has caused damage to the asphalt pavement. Along with the unpredictable and frigid coldness, the constant freezing and thawing can cause the asphalt to contract, which results in cracks and other distresses on the pavement.

You may notice that not all cracks in the asphalt pavement look the same. This is because different types of pavement failures can result in various cracking patterns.

Common Types of Asphalt Pavement Cracks

Photo credit to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crocodile_cracking

Alligator Cracking The common visual characteristic of an alligator cracking, which is also called as fatigue cracking, is the interconnected cracks which resemble alligator skin. Load-related deterioration, which resulted from the use of low-quality asphalt materials or weakened base course, overloading, too little pavement thickness, poor drainage, or a combination of these factors, can cause alligator cracks.

Maintenance Suggestion: Full-depth patch

Common Types of Asphalt Pavement Cracks

Photo credit to: http://lgam.wikidot.com/block-cracking

● Block Cracking – From what its name implies, block cracking is a series of giant square or rectangular cracks in the pavement. This type of crack is typically caused by a number of factors:

  • The aggregate was probably too dry or old when it was initially applied;
  • Low traffic volume;
  • Fine aggregates mixed with low penetration asphalt

Maintenance Suggestion: Thin overlays or any surface treatment

Common Types of Asphalt Pavement Cracks

Photo credit to: http://www.lgam.info/longitudinal-cracking

● Longitudinal Cracks – Also known as linear cracks, longitudinal cracks are long vertical cracks that run down to the centerline of the pavement. The possible causes include:

  • Poorly constructed paving joint crack
  • Daily temperature cycling
  • Shrunk asphalt layer
  • Improper operation of the paver

Maintenance Suggestion: Proper drainage, side drainage ditches, asphalt emulsion slurry to seal or fill the cracks

Common Types of Asphalt Pavement Cracks

Photo credit to: https://www.clrp.cornell.edu/nuggets_and_nibbles/articles/2008/cracks.html

● Edge Cracks – They are longitudinal cracks that usually form within one to two feet of the outer edge of the pavement. The possible causes include:

  • Poor drainage
  • Heavy traffic
  • Strong frost heave
  • Lack of lateral support
  • Shrinkage of dried out soil
  • Settlement of underlying material
  • Subgrade layer

Maintenance Suggestion: Remove vegetation near the pavement edge, improve drainage system, fill cracks with emulsified asphalt with crack sealing. In Mississauga there several service providers you can approach for these services.

Common Types of Asphalt Pavement Cracks

Photo credit to: faapaveair.faa.gov

● Slippage Cracks – Slippage cracks are known for their crescent-shaped cracks. This problem should be immediately addressed because they can turn into large and dangerous potholes. This type of cracking is usually caused by the following factors:

  • Not using tack coat
  • High sand content in the mixture
  • Lack of bond between the course beneath and surface layer due to non-adhesive materials, such as oil, rubber, dust, water, dirt

Maintenance Suggestion: Partial or full-depth patch

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