CTRE is an Iowa State University center, administered by the Institute for Transportation.

Address: 2711 S. Loop Drive, Suite 4700, Ames, IA 50010-8664

Phone: 515-294-8103
FAX: 515-294-0467

Website: www.ctre.iastate.edu/

Iowa State University--Becoming the Best

Prefabricated Elements Case Study


Principal investigator:

Student researcher:

Project status


Start date: 07/01/06
End date: 06/30/07


Report: Prefabricated Elements Case Study (566 kb pdf) June 2007

Tech transfer summary: Prefabricated Elements Case Study (106 kb pdf) Aug 2007



About the research

Abstract: Prefabricated elements have the opportunity to reduce the duration of closed lanes during highway reconstruction. Typically, an element that is prefabricated off-site and installed, rather than being constructed in-place, diminishes the duration of on-site construction activities and, therefore, minimizes the disruption and congestion of traffic due to shorter duration lane closures. This case study presents an analysis of the benefits and costs of using prefabricated pavement panels.

The case study involves a small panel replacement project, conducted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, involving the installation of precast concrete pavement panels. The installation segment consisted of a 218 ft. continuous stretch of 12 ft. wide pavement. The objective of the test project was to evaluate the use of precast pavement panels to reduce construction time, thus reducing overall and continuous motorist delay due to a lane closure.

The results of the benefit-to-cost analysis conducted as part of this case study suggest that for small projects that consist of only a few panels, using prefabricated panels to reduce work zone user costs is cost-effective; however, as projects involve more prefabricated panels, the construction costs quickly escalate and become cost prohibitive.