There is an aura of superiority attached to the work "composite"--that is to say, the composite of anything is expected to be superior to its distinct elements of parts. It will suffice here to define a composite pavement as being compounded of "rigid" and "flexible" parts or layers. In reality, we mean layers of portland cement concrete and bituminous concrete--each of which is admirably sufficient in itself or may be so down-graded to satisfy lesser desires. Even so, we seem always to be discontent with the status quo. We are all somewhat opinionated on matters of pavement design and types of pavements; in the same way, some way cherish hope that some lingering dilemmas may dissolve in the combination and "composite action" of the two--and also that the one will enhance the other. Certainly there is evidence that bituminous overlays are worthy recourses when the condition of a concrete pavement becomes unsatisfactory; however, there is no intent here to imply advocacy of any extraordinary pavement structure--except for study and experimental purposes.

Our assignment here is to assess the present-state-of-the art of composite pavement design and construction and, further, to assess performance. It is safe to say, at the outset, that criteria of design cannot be any more refined or sophisticated than "flexible" or "rigid" pavement criteria--perhaps we will find ultimately that the same rational theories suffice for "flexible" and "rigid" and for "composite" pavements.

Report Date


Report Number

No. 231a

Digital Object Identifier



Presented in Session 44, 45th Annual Meeting Highway Research Board (Washington, D. C.: January, 1966).