Rigid Pavements Rigid pavements are constructed with PCC and aggregates. As with flexible pavements, the subgrade (the lower layer) is often scarified, blended, and compacted to high density before additional layers are added. In rigid pavements, the base layer is optional, depending on the engineering properties of the subgrade. If the subgrade soil is poor and erodable, then it is advisable to use a base layer. However, if the soil has good engineering properties and drains well, a base layer need not be used. The top layer (wearing surface) is the PCC slab. Slab length varies from a spacing of 10 to 13 ft to a spacing of 40 ft or more.
Transverse contraction joints are built into the pavement to control cracking due to shrinkage of the concrete during the curing process. Load-transfer devices, such as dowel bars, are placed in the joints to minimize deflections between adjacent slabs and reduce stresses near the edges of the slabs. Slab thicknesses for PCC highway pavements usually vary from 8 to 12 inches,
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