Pavement Recycling: Stopgap or Remedy?

by Gary Goldstein, Asst. News Editor; Civil Engineering—ASCE, New York, N.Y. 10017,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1984, Vol. 54, Issue 9, Pg. 54-57

Document Type: Feature article


Recycled pavements cost less than new asphalt concrete overlays, but no long term data has ratified how recycled pavements' strength and durability compare to virgin material. Nevertheless, recycling provides cost savings up to 40% on specific jobs, conserves energy and materials, and preserves the environment and highway geometrics. For these reasons, pavement recycling in many states is a standard aggregate alternate. In other states, recycling is done on a job to job basis and then only for base, not surface, courses for several reasons. One is the difficulty in preventing moisture from getting into the reclaimed mix; the second is correctly characterizing the material in the recycled pavement; and the third is the difficulty in maintaining quality control on projects from start to finish. The immediate results of hot mix recycled pavements have been good, while cold mix recycled pavements have had stability problems due to moisture trapped in the reclaimed material. Problems that still need to be solved or improved include developing machines that will reduce emissions, more research on why recycled pavements are doing as well as they are, getting more experienced personnel to get better screening of recycled materials, prevent moisture from getting trapped in the mix, and establishing a long term monitoring program to further refine the state of the art of recycling.

Subject Headings: Pavements | Recycling

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