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The Benefits of Asphalt Recycling and Reclamation

Due to the growing demand for rehabilitating existing roadways, decreasing budgetary funds, and increasing environmental concerns there has been a dramatic growth in asphalt recycling and reclaiming.

Recycling of Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP) is the process of recovering aged asphalt and wrapping it around reclaimed asphalt aggregates. RAP can also be incorporated into energy-saving warm-mix asphalt (WMA) technologies. These technologies allow asphalt pavements to be produced at lower temperatures, meaning reduced energy demands and lower emissions during production and paving. WMA additives also serve in a compaction aid capacity allowing for improved densities to be achieved.

Aging and hardening of asphalt binder happens when the binder is exposed to heat, light, and air. In order to restore the properties of aged asphalt, it’s necessary that the old pavement be reclaimed and recycled. Asphalt pavement is the most widely recycled product in the U.S. According to the latest survey by the National Asphalt Pavement Association, more than 71.9 million tons of RAP were put to use in new pavements in the U.S. during the 2014 construction season (a 30% increase from 2009), saving taxpayers more than $2.8 billion. Also, about a third of all asphalt pavement mixture produced in that year was made using WMA technologies.

The benefits of asphalt recycling include: reuse and conservation of non-renewable natural resources, preservation of the environment and reduction in land filling, energy conservation, increased traffic safety within construction work zones, preservation of existing roadway geometry, corrections to pavement profile, improved pavement smoothness, improved pavement physical properties, and with some methods the mitigation or elimination of cracking

Care should be taken when selecting roadways and rehabilitation methods. Pavements that have fundamental shortcomings and deficiencies are not eligible for many recycling methods. The Pavement Consulting Group at Braun Intertec has the knowledge and experience in evaluating existing pavements and selecting the appropriate recycling strategy to meet the owner’s needs. For more information about the services we provide, please contact Dr. Mohammad Sabouri.

Mohammad Sabouri Pavement Consulting Engineer

P: 952.995.2828