Skip to contentUnited States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway AdministrationSearch FHWAFeedback
Focus
Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations
Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Focus > July 2008 > Pavement Recycling Technology Deployment: Meeting Today's Environmental and Economic Challenges
July 2008Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-08-015

Focus Home | Current Issue | Past Issues | Editorial Guidelines/Reprint | Search Focus

Pavement Recycling Technology Deployment: Meeting Today's Environmental and Economic Challenges

As transportation agencies across the United States look to meet today’s environmental and economic challenges, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is asking agencies to “consider recycling first.” State and local agencies and contractors can realize economic, environmental, and engineering benefits by incorporating previously used high-quality materials into the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the country’s roadway network. The current FHWA recycling policy was issued on February 7, 2002, and is available online at www.fhwa.dot.gov/legsregs/directives/policy/recmatmemo.htm. “FHWA’s Pavement and Materials Program has long been a supporter of the green movement. Today’s high fuel costs, decline in the availability of quality materials, and limited transportation budgets make this recycling policy even more important,” says Jim Sorenson of FHWA’s Office of Asset Management.

State and local agencies and contractors can realize economic, environmental, and engineering benefits by incorporating previously used high-quality materials into the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the country’s roadway network.

Many State and local agencies have successfully followed this policy on their Federal-aid projects. When measured on a tonnage basis, hot-mix asphalt is the most recycled material in the world, amounting to nearly 73 million metric tons (80 million tons) annually in the United States alone. “The challenge now is to increase the amount of recycling even more. With the costs of new materials escalating at a rapid pace, the availability of adequate material supplies being limited in some areas, and new laws and regulations concerning greenhouse gas reductions, it only makes sense to maximize our recycling and reuse efforts,” says Sorenson. To meet this challenge, FHWA and its partners are placing a renewed emphasis on training and technology deployment efforts to promote more pavement recycling by State and local agencies.

FHWA sponsored two Webinars on pavement recycling that were held on Earth Day, April 22, 2008. More than 50 State materials engineers and research engineers from around the country participated in the first Webinar, which highlighted the mission and accomplishments of the Recycled Materials Resource Center (RMRC) in Durham, New Hampshire, as well as RMRC’s plans for the future. To learn more about RMRC and the many resources it offers transportation agencies or to view presentations from the Webinar, visit www.recycledmaterials.org.

Figure 4. Photo. Participants watch and listen to a presentation at the first Western Region In-Place Recycling Workshop in Salt Lake City, Utah, in June 2008.
More than 100 participants attended the first Western Region In-Place Recycling Workshop in Salt Lake City, UT, in June 2008.

The second Earth Day Webinar focused on in-place pavement recycling technologies, drawing 150 participants. King W. Gee, FHWA’s Associate Administrator for Infrastructure, highlighted the benefits of pavement recycling and provided details on FHWA’s recycling policy. Steve Muncy of the Asphalt Recycling and Reclaiming Association (ARRA), meanwhile, discussed the three major types of in-place recycling: cold in-place recycling (CIR), hot in-place recycling, and full-depth recycling. The Webinar presentations are currently available online at www.pavementpreservation.org/recyclingworkshop.

To give transportation agency representatives and others a firsthand look at an in-place recycling project, FHWA, ARRA, and the Foundation for Pavement Preservation (FPP) sponsored the First Western Region In-Place Recycling Workshop in Salt Lake City, Utah, from June 3–5, 2008. The workshop featured presentations and information sharing on States’ use of in-place recycling, with the highlight being a field trip to an award-winning CIR project on I-80 in Pequop, Nevada. “Nothing really re-places getting out to projects, seeing the technologies in action, and speaking to the crews actually doing the work,” says Sorenson. The site visit provided the 115 participants the opportunity to see the completed project, which used CIR on more than 32 km (20 mi) of roadway; learn more about the project selection criteria and CIR process and equipment used; and to have their questions answered by project personnel. The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) has used CIR successfully for more than 20 years. And, from 1997 to 2007, the agency used CIR on more than 1,609 centerline km (1,000 centerline mi), adding up to 15 percent of its roadway system.

Figure 5. Photo. Participants at the Western Region In-Place Recycling Workshop visit a cold in-place recycling project on I-80 in Pequop, Nevada. Participants wearing safety vests stand on the side of I-80 while a tractor-trailer truck and cars pass by.

Figure 6. Photo. Participants at the Western Region In-Place Recycling Workshop stand on the side of I-80 in Pequop, Nevada, looking at equipment used in a cold in-place recycling project.

The Western Region In-Place Recycling Workshop included a field trip to a cold in-place recycling (CIR) project on I-80 in Pequop, NV. Participants learned more about the CIR process and equipment used.

 

Figure 7. Photo. Traffic travels down I-80 in Pequop, Nevada.

The I-80 project used CIR on more than 32 km (20 mi) of roadway.

The workshop was organized by the National Center for Pavement Preservation, with support from State and local agencies, contractors, suppliers, industry associations, and consultants. Workshop participants included representatives from Western State departments of transportation, FHWA division office representatives, local agency personnel, industry representatives, and consulting engineers.

Presentations and videos from the workshop are available on the Utah Local Technical Assistance Program Web site at www.utahltap.org (click on “Document Repository and Downloads” and then select “Western Region In-Place Recycling Workshop”).

The Utah workshop was the first in a series of regional workshops that will be held around the country. FHWA, ARRA, and the FPP will recommend a location for the next workshop this fall or winter, with the aim of holding five to six workshops over the next 2 years. Additional Webinars on pavement recycling and the reuse of industrial materials are also being planned by ARRA and the RMRC, in cooperation with FHWA and States. Upcoming events will be announced at www.fhwa.dot.gov/pavement/events.cfm.

For more information on pavement recycling, contact your local FHWA division office or one of the following FHWA staff:

Steve Mueller, FHWA Resource Center, 720-963-3213 (email: steve.mueller@fhwa.dot.gov)

Jason Harrington, FHWA Office of Pavement Technology, 202-366-1576 (email: jason.harrington@fhwa.dot.gov)

Joe Gregory, FHWA Office of Asset Management, 202-366-1557 (email: joseph.gregory@fhwa.dot.gov).

Back to Articles in this Issue

Updated: 04/07/2011

Infrastructure Home | FHWA Home | Feedback
FHWA
United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration