Sustainable Surface Mixtures Incorporating Recycled Plastic Waste and High RAP Contents

Project No: 122604

Target Completion Date: October 31, 2025 Pavements

About the project:

Over the last several decades, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has evaluated the use and performance of several technologies in asphalt mixtures that can potentially help reduce environmental burdens from the transportation systems. Furthermore, like many other state highway agencies, VDOT is extensively working to determine how to best incorporate recycled materials such as recycled plastic waste, reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) at higher concentrations (with and without the use of recycling agents [RAs]), and other materials into their roads. The purpose of this study is to build on previous efforts undertaken by the Virginia Transportation Research Council (VTRC). The first major objective of this research is to continue evaluating recycled plastic modified asphalt mixtures produced during the 2022 and 2023 paving seasons in terms of constructability and laboratory/field performance. Furthermore, this study will evaluate the feasibility and process of recycling asphalt mixtures already containing recycled plastic waste. This will highlight the impact of further recycling on the performance properties of such mixtures, and the potential generation of hazardous emissions to the environment. The second major objective of the study is to continue documenting and assessing field trials of mixtures with high RAP contents (HRAP mixes) featuring the use of RAs. This will include testing the protocol that is currently being established at VTRC to evaluate the effectiveness of (and differentiate between compatible and non-compatible) RAs to alleviate the brittleness of HRAP mixtures. Finally, the data generated as part of this research study will be used to conduct life cycle assessments and develop corresponding environmental product declarations as part of the Federal Highway Administration climate challenge proposal and work plan submitted by VTRC and VDOT to quantify greener pavements in Virginia.

Project Team

Principal Investigators

Co-Principal Investigators

Last updated: December 10, 2023

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