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A Comprehensive List Of Flexible Pavement Failures

Flexible pavement failure is a common occurrence and can be a big headache for homeowners and contractors alike. One of the great benefits of flexible pavement is its ability to conform to the road’s contours and minimize bumps and vibrations. However, this very flexibility can also be a weakness, as flexible pavements are prone to failure under certain conditions.

This blog post by Atkins Paving LLC lists the most common flexible pavement failures. It will help you identify potential problems with your driveway or roadway and take steps to prevent them from occurring.

What is Flexible Pavement?

Flexible pavement is a series of layers of material, typically asphalt and aggregate, laid down to create a smooth surface for roadways. This type of pavement is flexible because it can expand and contract with vehicular weight and temperature changes, which helps prevent cracking.

Types of Flexible Pavement Failure

  • Alligator cracking: As the name suggests, the series of cracks resemble the skin of an alligator. It is a form of structural failure of the asphalt pavement.


  • Block cracking: The cracks look like a series of rectangles. Weather elements usually cause it.


  • Longitudinal cracking: These cracks run in the direction of the pavement centerline or laydown joints. They are caused by traffic loading, thermal contraction, and poor joint construction.


  • Transverse cracking: These cracks run usually run across the asphalt. They can occur due to temperature changes.


  • Edge cracks: These cracks form at the pavement edges. They may occur in the absence of curbs.


  • Corrugation: Corrugations are bumps on the surface of the pavement. They are usually caused by traffic and are found perpendicular to the traffic direction.


  • Raveling: Raveling is the loss of asphalt particles where the asphalt binder does not bond to the asphalt aggregate particles.


  • Depression: Depressions are usually caused by traffic or foundation soil settlement.


  • Potholes: These holes form when water penetrates the pavement surface and weakens the underlying asphalt. They are commonly found in areas with high traffic volume.


  • Rutting: Rutting is a type of failure that results in tire tracking on the pavement surface. It is a form of structural failure of flexible pavement.


  • Upheaval or Swelling: Asphalt upheaval or swelling is caused by the expansion of foundation soils.


  • Bleeding or Flushing: Sometimes, a thin, shiny asphalt binder film can be seen on the pavement surface. This film is known as bleeding or flushing. It is caused by too much asphalt binder in the mix.


  • Slippage or Crescent Cracking: As the name suggests, these cracks resemble crescents and form due to braking or turning wheels on the pavement surface.


  • Shoving: This type of deformation looks like a wave of ripples on the asphalt. It can be caused by poor construction. It results in the pavement surface becoming uneven.


  • Pumping: Sometimes, too much water underneath the asphalt pavement can cause it to pump or push up through the surface. The pooled water can damage the pavement and create potholes.

Atkins Paving LLC is an expert asphalt paving company. We offer high-quality asphalt paving and asphalt maintenance services in Charlotte, NC, so that there are fewer pavement failures and you enjoy your pavement for a long time to come.

Contact us for your next asphalt project or get your no-obligation, free quote!