The concepts and approach used to develop a mechanistic-empirical structural design procedure for continuously reinforced concrete pavements (CRCP) are presented. Key aspects of the CRCP design procedure - including design overview, design inputs, structural response model, incremental damage analysis, and prediction of CRCP deterioration - are addressed. The mechanism of punch-out development is the foundation of the structural design procedure. Punch-out development is modeled by using mechanistic principles and damage accumulation over the design life. The incremental damage is used to account for changes in many factors throughout the entire design period, including material properties (Portland cement concrete strength and modulus, erosion of base), seasonal climatic conditions, traffic loadings, crack load transfer, subgrade support, and others. Each analysis increment represents a specific combination of these factors during a selected period of time. Finally, accumulated damage is correlated with CRCP punchouts by using extensive field data, and a sensitivity analysis is provided to show that the procedure is reasonable.