A Shiny New Concrete Panel!

When SDOT reconstructs and paves a roadway, why don’t they always replace all of the concrete panels?  Which ones are the lucky winners and why? 

Concrete Panels on 2nd and Yesler

Concrete Panels on 2nd and Yesler

Basically, we replace the panels that are damaged and keep those with remaining functional life.  This may appear odd because some of the panels kept have cracks.  Not to worry.  All concrete eventually cracks but it’s how the cracking is controlled that matters.  As engineers nationwide have become more sophisticated in their understanding of concrete paving, we have learned that smaller panels age better than larger panels.  For large pieces of concrete, the concrete literally wants to be in smaller pieces and will establish its own joints, often at regularly spaced intervals.  Knowing this, engineers now plan for this.  As long as the crack doesn’t propagate or cause one side of the panel to shift or settle in relation to another, the concrete panel has valuable functional life left.