Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering

Advisor 1

Zhanping You

Advisor 2

Jacob Hiller

Committee Member 1

Fan Dai


This study aimed to investigate the use of wide base tires (WBT) in Michigan to quantify the effect of different percentages of WBT loads on flexible and rigid pavements. Surveys and field investigations were conducted to quantify the WBT usage in Michigan. The JULEA (for flexible pavements) and Illislab (for JPCP) software programs were used to calculate the mechanical response between dual tire (DT) and WBT loads, while the Mechanical-Empirical (ME) pavement design process was utilized for damage accumulation and pavement distress analysis. Investigation results rationalized the assumption of WBT proportion for design purposes as 10% currently and up to 25% in the future for Michigan with the majority of axles load still employing DT assemblies. WBT loads were found to increase pavement distress mechanistically using this process, with fatigue cracking for flexible pavement and faulting for JPCP most critical. Thicker asphalt concrete (AC) layers were beneficial in reducing WBT impact on fatigue cracking, while rutting was much less impacted by the thickness of the AC layer under WBT using the ME design process. Thicker concrete slabs helped reduce WBT impacts on both transverse cracking and faulting for JPCP. It was also found that WBT loads did not affect the international roughness index (IRI) significantly for both flexible and JPCP using a process adapted from the Pavement ME analysis. Based on analysis results, the WBT impact on pavement structures with 5-12" AC layers or 6-13" PCC slabs were quantified for up to 25% WBTs, with the respective adjusted Pavement ME and AASHTO 93 design threshold and recommendation for implementation.