Primary Causes Of Road Pavement Failure And Possible Solution

Project and Seminar Materials for Civil Engineering CE

Primary Causes Of Road Pavement Failure And Possible Solution


Pavement failures in most developing countries especially Nigeria is worrisome and this is one of the challenges which the government of the day constantly have to grapple with willy-nilly. To appreciate the dangers of pavement failures before suggesting remedial measures, this research was undertaken. It focuses on pavement failure in Nigeria, using the south eastern and southern states as case study. Survey methods which involve the use of questionnaires were distributed mostly to civil engineering companies. Likert’s scale was used to analyse the returned questionnaires from the respondents.

Analysis of the questionnaires from the respondents shows that quality of construction materials, poor maintenance practice and the presence of moisture on the pavement are factors that are highly responsible for pavement failures in the south eastern and southern Nigeria and these results in the high congestion and waste traffic time as agreed by respondents to be the key problems of the resultant effect of pavement failure.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Adequate planning and design of good pavement is germane to the development of a nation. This is because properly constructed road network enhances economic growth of any nation by encouraging efficient movement of goods and services. Thus, good road network reduces haulage vehicle accidents by minimizing human and material losses (Akintorinwa, Ojo, & Olorunfemi, 2010). In the developing countries such as Nigeria, road network is the most developed transport mode and the vastest in usage (Okigbo, 2012). Roads represent the major areas of investment in transportation according to Oguara (Oguara, 2010) and are also the dominant travel mode accounting for over 90% of passenger and goods transport in Nigeria.

Regrettably, despite huge financial resources being sunk into the transportation sector in Nigeria, its roads have continued to pose serious dangers to motorist due to its deplorable state with attendant economic losses to the populace especially as a result of loss in man hours arising from delays on several bad portions of the road. Despite its vast potentials for growth and development, the Nigeria roads have not been satisfactory in terms of its performance (Adewumi, 2008). Most of the problems leading to the deplorable state of Nigerian roads are directly or indirectly related to the poor planning of pavement design but an adequate knowledge of the effect of pavement failure on our roads will help in reducing the menace arising therefrom.

There are two major types of pavement – the flexible pavements and the rigid pavement. Both pavement types contribute in making highway transportation possible. A highway pavement is a structure consisting of superimposed layers of selected and processed material whose function is to distribute the applied vehicle loads to the subgrade (Saurabh, Joshi, & Goliya, 2013). Most Nigeria roads are designed as flexible pavements and so only flexible pavement was considered in this research. Flexible pavement deflects when loads are imposed on it. It consists of several layers of materials with each layer receiving load from the above layer, spreading out the received load and passing it on to the next layer directly below it. A good flexible pavement is expected to be stable, non-yielding surface for the movement of heavy vehicles (Arora, 2003) and when this is jeopardize as a result of poor planning, it could lead to disastrous consequences and whatever negates the qualities of a good pavement during its useful life could well be described as pavement failure.

Factors that lead to pavement failure are numerous and it is pertinent to first identify such factors and then classify them for effective understanding and management of the problems for developmental growth of a nation. It is said that pavement failure arises from functional failures (Woods & Adcox, Spring 2002, ) and the assignment of categories makes the understanding of pavement somewhat easier. Proper identification of pavement will ultimately enable the relevant agencies to appreciate the causes of pavement failure with a view to providing remedial measures to mitigate the failure.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Construction encompasses the issues relevant to the process of road construction and maintenance, including the design, contracting, implementation, supervision, and maintenance of roads and related structures. With respect to the factors that affect maintained road pavement, this includes the condition of maintained roads in general, as well as the contracting party of maintenance activities. In addition, issues related to the area of construction and the environment are also included, such as construction and maintenance environmental impacts and mitigation, and construction site safety for frequent failure of maintained roads.

Asphalt pavement road deterioration extended much faster than the corresponding maintenance budgets and institutional capacities. Traffic has also become much heavier than expected, and axle loadings have often exceeded the designed capacity of pavements. These patterns are evident almost everywhere. New roads pavement, if inadequately maintained, deteriorate regularly and almost imperceptibly during the first half to two-thirds of their service life, depending on the traffic and weather condition. After that grace period, which may last ten to fifteen years, the pavements deteriorate much more rapidly. Without timely maintenance, they break apart (Caltrans, 2001).

As roads become rougher, the costs of operating vehicles-and of transporting goods-begin to shoot up. The neglect of maintenance continues, however, the vehicle operators that pay these costs-and pass them on if they can. Road authorities are not directly affected by these costs, and they come under no immediate pressure to improve road conditions. Road users are often slow to see the link between road conditions and the prices of goods and transport services and are usually not organized to do something about it (Harral, 1988). One of the problems of the Federal Roads in Nigeria is that annually, around half of the Federal road network is maintained and still the roads are grouped under poor and fair sate. Further, the cost of road maintenance has amplified in the past ten years.

Therefore, the factor affecting maintained roads pavement either negatively or positively can be avoided or enhanced respectively using several engineering techniques. This study aims to assess the primary causes of road pavement failure and possible solution and identify the corresponding positive and negative impacts.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The general objective of the study is to assess the primary causes of road pavement failure and possible solution.

The specific objectives of this study are to:

  1. Identify the major factors that cause maintained roads pavement failure in highway;
  2. Assess the road maintenance practice;
  3. Evaluate the satisfaction of maintained road users and
  4. Recommend intervention measures to minimize the frequent failure factors for maintained paved road.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What are the major causes of frequent failures of maintained federal paved roads in Nigeria?
  2. How often the road pavement maintenance carried out?
  3. Do the road maintenances practice follow the Nigeria Road Safety standards?
  4. How does FRSC evaluate the satisfaction of road users?

1.5 Significance of the Study

As roads pavement deteriorate and become rougher, the costs of operating vehicles and of transporting goods begin to shoot up. As the neglect of maintenance continues, it is the vehicle operators that will pay these costs-and pass them on to the consumers. Road authorities are not directly affected by these costs, and they come under no immediate pressure to improve road conditions. Road users are often affected by maintained road conditions and the prices of goods and transport services.

The following are envisaged as the significance of this study:

  1. The primary significance of this research is to provide immediate benefits to road users by identifying the causes of frequent failures of the Federal paved road maintenance and provide recommendation to possibly solve these problems with desired recommendations.
  2. This research helps for road improvements followed by a well-planned program of maintenance. Without regular maintenance, roads can rapidly fall into disrepair, preventing realization of the longer-term impacts of road improvements on development, such as increased agricultural production and growth in school enrollment.

Furthermore, the outputs of this research are envisaged to help the responsible authorities to see the effect of how severe the issue is such that great attention and participations on any research based on road maintenance related problems will be supported efficiently.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The scope of this research focused on investigating the cause of frequent failure of maintained roads pavement regarding the Federal Roads of Nigeria. The study researched the failure level of maintained road pavement and the changes in various factor like: traffic condition, weather condition and performances of contractors and their effectiveness in road maintenance. This research was an attempt to provide recommendation for better measurement to prevent the failure of maintained road pavement under the jurisdiction of the FRSC, so that they can bring about changes in maintenance issues which will help them to develop a practical manual in maintenance supervision.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

There was limitation which is encountered throughout the preparation of this study. The major limitation of this study was lack of relevant data. Unavailability of adequate documented information and unwillingness of Stakeholders i.e. client, consultants and contractors to give document was the limitations of this study. In addition to these, there was limitation on related research which closely focused on the study of failurity causes of maintained road pavement in Nigeria. However, extensive literature search related to the topic and works on related topics have been explored in order to build a general insight about the topic under study.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Major Causes:

A main reason for an action or condition

Frequent Failures:

Failures of road maintenance resulting from the same direct cause, occurring within a relatively short time, where these failures are not consequences of another. NOTE Components that fail due to a shared cause normally fail in the same functional mode.

Maintained Roads:

Preserved and kept roadway, roadside, structures as nearly as possible in its original condition as constructed or as subsequently improved and the operation of highway facilities and services to provide satisfactory and safe transportation.


Highway is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two places that has been paved or otherwise improved to allow travel by automobile, cart, bicycle, or horse.

Federal Roads:

The Federal roads were one instance of the federal government’s agenda of “internal improvements,” government-subsidized projects that would tie together the trade and people of the regions within country.

Maintained Road Users:

Anyone who uses a maintained road, such as a pedestrian, cyclist or motorist.


The total thickness of pavement including surfacing, base and sub-base.

Road Maintenance:

Any activity undertaken to preserve the original surface and structural qualities of a road or a pavement.

Maintenance Management System:

The process of organizing, scheduling and controlling maintenance activities to make the best possible use of resources available.

Pavement Management System (PMS):

It is defined as the process of coordinating, planning and programming a comprehensive set of activities — including construction, maintenance and rehabilitation — to minimize the whole life cost of the road.

1.9 Organizations of the Study

The chapter one consist of the introductory part of the study which includes the study background, the statement of the research problem, the study objective and scope of the study.

The second chapter is a critical review of other literatures relevant to the study and its objectives including the theoretical framework for the study. While the third chapter is methods of data collection, sampling and data analysis used in conducting the study. The fourth chapter centres around the research findings including an analysis of how it relates to previous findings. The fifth chapter consists of the summary of findings, conclusion and recommendations base on the study objectives.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings on the primary causes of road pavement failure and possible solution, FRSC Abuja as case study. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.

5.2 Summary of the Study

In this study, our focus was on the primary causes of road pavement failure and possible solution, FRSC Abuja as case study. The study is was specifically focused on identifying the major factors that cause maintained roads pavement failure in highway; assessing the road maintenance practice; evaluating the satisfaction of maintained road users and recommending intervention measures to minimize the frequent failure factors for maintained paved road.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 100 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are staff and management of FRSC Abuja.

5.2 Conclusions

This study was concerned with the major factors that affect maintained road pavement and to investigate the condition of maintenance road under the FRSC using annual project report, maintenance manual, maintenance specification and selected segments whether the existing maintenance pavement was good or not based on serviceability. It is obvious that good maintained road is fundamental in the provision of a good road network system and satisfy of end users.

The visual condition of maintained road explained the physical distress of maintained asphalt pavement and their effect on end users. In every maintenance situation, safety and accessibility are important considerations for road users, including drivers who use the roads.

Based on the results of the questionnaire survey, the major causes of failures of maintained paved road are deficiency in workers‘ skill, maintenance culture, quality materials and soil condition; uneven increase/fluctuation of material price, shortage of material, manpower and lack of efficient/competent contractor and not taking responsibility of risks that happen pre- and-post of maintenance works. And also, lack of evaluation method of the pavement for structural, functional and safety of maintained road condition and maintenance treatment selection techniques are also the cause for maintained paved road failure and increase in travel time, increase in consumptions of fuel on maintained road imply that the state of the road is in poor condition

In addition to the above, the basic reasons for deteriorated maintenance road in Nigeria include; inadequate feasibility studies to ascertain the maintenance requirements of the road, corruption which leads to poor workmanship by the contractors, negligence of government officials who are authorized to supervise construction and lack of adequate resources to carry out maintenance of paved federal road in Nigeria.

5.4 Recommendation

(a) Engagement of Highly Skilled Personnel

Professionals with the technical know-how and requisite knowledge regarding the construction of pavement design should be approached in any design and construction of pavement within the south-eastern and southern part of Nigeria and indeed the entire country. Employment of quacks for design and construction pavement should be highly discouraged and any thought of it should be jettisoned so as to achieve quality work that will stand the test of time

(b) Provision of Improved Drainage System

To mitigate against the problem of pavement failure, good surface and sub surface drainage system should be constructed to channel moisture away from the pavement. Drainage is the most important aspect of road design (Magdi, 2014) Accumulation of water could subsequently lead to excessive pore water pressure building up at the base of the pavement and this could undermine the integrity of the pavement. Also, siltation and debris in the drainage channel should be frequently cleared to allow for easy flow of water in the drainage channels

(c) Enactment of Laws to Curb Sharp Practice

Sharp practices are rife in the construction industries partly because the existing laws are too weak to deal with defaulters and partly because of the sheer lack of will to enforce the law due to the insincerity of those employed to enforce it.

The existing laws should be strengthened and also enshrined within the constitution to sanction any erring contractor and construction companies involve in the design and construction of pavement within the south eastern and southern states of Nigeria that may want to embark on any shoddy pavement construction.

(d) Adequate and Prompt Supervision of Construction of Pavement

Regular supervision during the construction stage of pavement is highly recommended to ensure durability of the pavement. This is achieved by insisting that the design specifications are met. Any deviation from the specification could ultimately lead to failure during the useful life of the pavement.

(e) Periodic Maintenance of Road

To ensure that the constructed pavement meets its design life, routine maintenance should be constantly carried out from time to time when the pavement is still in good condition with no structural damage. The cost of maintaining a road is usually small when compared to when the structure fails. When it fails, lot of cost will be incurred for the reconstruction of pavement with its attendant economic drain on the government.

(f) Excessive Overloading Should be Discouraged

To promote the life span of pavement within the southern and south eastern part of Nigeria, motorist plying the roads should be highly discouraged from loading vehicles excessively and indiscriminately so as not to lead to unwarranted increase in the axle load which might quicken the damaging effect of the pavement.

(g) Adequate Geotechnical Test in Road Construction

Sound geotechnical exploration should be carried out before any construction work is done. Results obtained from good geotechnical test on the soil samples taken from various locations on the actual sites for the construction of the pavement should be relied upon. Relevant data from the site for the construction of pavement should also be sourced and utilized. The effect of preliminary geotechnical exploration on the life span of the project cannot be over-emphasized.

Project Material Download

5,000 5000

The Complete Material Will Be Sent to You in Just 2 Steps

Quick & Simple…

Step One Purchase

Make Payment (Through Transfer) of ₦5,000 to Any of the Account Below

Access Bank PlcAcc No: 0811003731
Samphina Academy
Current Account
Zenith BankAcc No: 1225513212
Samphina Academy
Current Account

Or CLICK HERE To Pay With Debit Card

CLICK HERE To Purchase Material ($15)
Make Payment of 120 GHS to 0553978005 | Douglas Cloud Osabutey | MTN MoMo

Step Two Purchase

Send the Following Details on WhatsApp ( 08143831497) After Payment

  1. Payment Details

  2. TOPIC: Primary Causes Of Road Pavement Failure And Possible Solution

The Complete Material Will Be Sent To You On WhatsApp After Receiving Your Details
T & C Apply

  Contact Our Help Desk

Need a Different Topic? Perform a Quick Search

List of Related Works

Click on Any Topic to Preview the Content

Samphina Academy

Samphina Academy is an Online Educational Resource Center that is aimed at providing students with quality information and materials to aid them in succeeding in their academic pursuit.