Intersections represent a special challenge in concrete pavement construction. Having to accommodate traffic flow while striving to meet project specifications for drainage, smoothness, and other structural requirements tests a contractor's construction and organizational skills. By carefully considering phasing options, employing fast-track paving techniques, and using proper approaches to drainage and jointing, contractors can construct a concrete intersection that will serve for decades. Above all, contractors must consider rideability, or pavement smoothness through the intersection, as the key factor by which the public will judge their work.
The phasing of intersection construction to allow traffic flow is a key element in determining the quality of the final product. Although most cities are reluctant to completely close a busy intersection to traffic, this option should be strongly considered. If the intersection can't be closed completely for the entire construction period, consider night or weekend closing to expedite the work. If it is feasible to divert traffic around the intersection even for a few hours, the contractor can usually complete critical construction phases quickly. The impact on final intersection quality is substantial; the more pavement the contractor can place in a continuous operation, the smoother the final product.
Jointing concrete intersections is crucial to the long-term performance of the pavement. Be sure that joints are sawed or formed at all drainage and other structures. Slabs should also be kept relatively square to prevent cracking, with a length-to-width ratio of no more than 1.5. For typical intersections, use a maximum joint spacing of 24 to 30 times the slab thickness.