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Fatigue Cracking (Alligator Cracking)

Sometimes called alligators/crocodiles (because the pattern resembles the reptile’s hide) or spider-web cracking, fatigue cracking is caused by continual traffic overload. This chicken-wire-like cracking pattern indicates a fundamental failure of the pavement construction (too thin or insufficient compaction) or materials, poor drainage, road base failure, or stripping on the bottom of the HMA layer.

Because this type of cracking is load-based and occurs in the wheel path, repeated traffic loading, as well as water infiltration, will continue to do damage to the roadway and base, reducing the thickness of pavement and leading to depressions, voids, ruts, potholes, rough riding surfaces, and, ultimately, repaving.