In recent years there has been a growing interest in the development of performance-related specifications for highway pavement construction. More comprehensive than traditional quality-assurance specifications, a PRS allows highway agencies to sample and test quality characteristics that relate directly to the performance of the constructed pavement. It also allows agencies to predict life-cycle costs used to compute contractor pay adjustments. Most important, the level of quality achieved for each key quality characteristic is related to pay adjustments through the use of sound engineering and economic principles.

Under a Federal Highway Administration research study, ERES Consultants Inc., Champaign, Ill., and Construction Technology Laboratories Inc., Skokie, Ill., developed a prototype PRS for jointed plain-concrete pavement construction. This prototype is innovative because it considers the life-cycle cost of the pavement as the overall measure of quality. Key quality characteristics of the pavement measured at the time of construction are used to predict key distress indicators. The amount of the pay adjustment is based on the expected increase or decrease in costs that the agency will incur over the life of the pavement.