Feasibility of Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP) Use as Road Base and Subbase Material

Report No: 15-R6

Published in 2015

About the report:

The purpose of this study was to investigate the current state of the practice with regard to the use of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) material for road base and subbase applications and the potential for such use by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). To achieve the objectives of the study, a comprehensive review of the literature was conducted and the current state of the practice by other state departments of transportation was analyzed.

The results indicated that the use of RAP in road base and subbase materials is viable and has been implemented by a number of transportation agencies. There seemed to be no major environmental concerns associated with using unbound RAP without chemical stabilization agents. Numerous sources of RAP are available in Virginia.

Based on practices adopted by other state transportation agencies, the study recommends that VDOT allow the use of RAP in a road base material on highway construction projects. The study further recommends that the allowable percentage of RAP in a blend be phased in gradually to allow VDOT to gain familiarity with the materials and processes involved. Compaction testing could be performed with current methods while alternative procedures were analyzed for suitability. Once a standard specification has been developed, sites for long-term field studies will be identified to implement further the recommendations stemming from this study.

There is a potential for significant economic benefits if RAP is used in base and subbase applications. Approximately 30% in material cost savings could be realized with a 50/50 blend of RAP and virgin aggregate. In addition, this application would likely result in a substantial reduction in the amount of RAP material currently stockpiled in Virginia.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

D. Stephen Lane, Sameer Shetty

Last updated: November 12, 2023

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