Proof rolling provides a method to examine the entire subgrade surface as a compliment to standard random acceptance testing. Proof rolling requires established criteria that account for the interplay of equipment parameters and soil characteristics, technique, and other specifics of the project to allow for proper interpretation. The researchers concluded that proof rolling is not appropriate for determining soil elastic properties, while it can reveal in situ strength properties. No information from state highway agencies (SHA) publications or interviews reports using proof rolling other than for the evaluation of the subgrade. Only eight SHA’s have notable specifications or other supporting documents containing significant guidance or criteria. The requirements provided for use of either of two equipment types—tandem-axle rear dump trucks and chariot-style rollers—and a range of evaluation criteria based on soil type and whether the project is new construction or re-construction. Recommendations provided fall within parameters practiced by states that have the most well-developed specifications and practices for proof rolling. The recommendations include: evaluation is of the subgrade only and the equipment shall be either a tandem-axle rear dump truck or a tri-axle rear dump truck (with raised third axle) loaded to a minimum gross weight of 20 tons. The chariot-style roller loaded to a minimum gross weight of 40 tons could be alternatively specified. The test shall be a single pass in each traffic lane with the passing criteria of a 1″ deflection for new construction and ½″ deflection for re-constructed or stabilized subgrade, as well as the absence of pumping and cracking.

Report Number



proof roll, test roll, subgrade evaluation, QC/QA

SPR Number


Performing Organization

Joint Transportation Research Program

Publisher Place

West Lafayette, Indiana

Date of this Version