A large portion of the infrastructure budget of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is spent on resurfacing of existing roads. The standard method adopted by RIDOT involves removing the top 2.5-5 centimeters by milling & replacing it with new dense graded course. However this might not be the most cost effective way to rehabilitate pavement. Just replacing the surface course will not solve the problem in the long run if the problem lies in the substructure. An objective procedure is needed for determining the optimum cost effective design. Currently, the RIDOT has no such standard procedure in place to make this determination. The focus of this study is to establish a relationship between the pavement performance and the mechanical response, such as the critical strain in the pavement under the surface layer, and to determine a range of critical strain values at which the pavement performs satisfactorily. Thirteen sections were selected across the state of Rhode Island consisting of multiple severity of cracking. Falling weight deflectometer (FWD) data was measured on each of these sections and thickness was determined from the core data collected at the sections. The modulus values were determined using the backcalculation software, BAKFAA. All the modulus values for the top layer were normalized at a constant temperature of 7.8°C. The tensile strain value under the surface layer was then calculated using the forward calculation software, KENLAYER. A critical strain criterion was established by correlating it to the measured distress such as uncrack, transverse crack, and longitudinal crack. The critical strain value depends upon the modulus values of the top two layers as well as the thickness of the top layer. The research team will provide guidelines in the form of a decision tree to avoid exceeding the critical strain and hence in the process provide a long-lasting, cost-effective pavement. This mechanistic approach will save the RIDOT millions of dollars on future projects.