The installation of geogrid as a means of extending the service life of a roadway or reducing the required base course thickness of a pavement structure has become increasingly popular. The realization of these benefits depends largely on the degree to which the geogrid reinforcement leads to an increase in the stiffness of the aggregate base course layer. The objective of this research was to investigate the structural capacity of geogrid-reinforced aggregate base materials in flexible pavements through full-scale testing. The scope involved field testing at two sites in northern Utah that each included five different geogrid-reinforced sections and five accompanying unreinforced control sections. Five different geogrid types were utilized to ensure that the experimentation was representative of the geogrid products available in the industry at the time of the study. At each of the two field sites, 10 test sections were established, and several field tests were conducted during and following construction of the two pavements to characterize the in-situ structural properties of the subgrade, base, and hot mix asphalt layers of each geogrid-reinforced and unreinforced test section. The procedures involved nuclear density gauge, soil stiffness gauge, Clegg impact soil tester, dynamic cone penetrometer (DCP), portable falling-weight deflectometer, and falling-weight deflectometer testing of each test section. Samples of the subgrade and base materials were also obtained from both field sites for laboratory testing, which included dry and washed sieve analyses, Atterberg limits testing, and material classification. An analysis of covariance (ANOCOVA) was conducted on the results of each field test to determine if the structural capacity of the geogrid-reinforced sections was different than that of the accompanying unreinforced control sections.Among the 24 ANOCOVA models developed for the two field sites, only four indicated that geogrid presence was statistically significant. Of these four models, three indicated that the presence of geogrid reinforcement led to higher values of the given measurement of structural capacity compared to the unreinforced condition; however, in none of the cases was the difference practically important as defined in this research and would therefore not result in a different input in the pavement design process. Notably, in all three of these models, the same testing procedure, namely the DCP, was used for the testing. A measurable increase in the structural capacity of the reinforced layer may not be immediately observable using standard pavement testing procedures. Further field research is recommended to investigate the duration of the required conditioning period and also the extent of the zone of influence of geogrid reinforcement in aggregate base courses.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Civil and Environmental Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





aggregate, conditioning period, geogrid, structural capacity, zone of influence