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Prefabricated Elements Case Study

Status: Complete

Description: Prefabricated elements have the opportunity to reduce the duration of closed lanes during highway reconstruction. Typically, an element that is prefabricated off-site and installed, rather than being constructed in-place, diminishes the duration of on-site construction activities and, therefore, minimizes the disruption and congestion of traffic due to shorter duration lane closures. This case study presents an analysis of the benefits and costs of using prefabricated pavement panels.

The case study involves a small panel replacement project, conducted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, involving the installation of precast concrete pavement panels. The installation segment consisted of a 218 ft. continuous stretch of 12 ft. wide pavement. The objective of the test project was to evaluate the use of precast pavement panels to reduce construction time, thus reducing overall and continuous motorist delay due to a lane closure.

The results of the benefit-to-cost analysis conducted as part of this case study suggest that for small projects that consist of only a few panels, using prefabricated panels to reduce work zone user costs is cost-effective; however, as projects involve more prefabricated panels, the construction costs quickly escalate and become cost prohibitive.

Report: 2007-maze-prefab-elements.pdf 566 kb (published 2007)

State conducting research: Iowa


  • Maze, Tom (Iowa State University)
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