Assessing Increased Use of Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement in Asphalt Mixtures

Report No: 20-R9

Published in 2019

About the report:

In 2007, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) introduced specifications to allow asphalt surface mixtures to have up to 30% reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) without a change in the virgin binder grade.  Since 2007, increasing material costs and a growing awareness of the quantity of RAP available for use have sparked interest in allowing asphalt mixtures to have a higher percentage of RAP. 

By 2013, VDOT had begun to consider the feasibility of allowing the use of surface mixtures with up to 45% RAP, and several trial sections were constructed containing mixtures with 20%, 30%, 40%, and 45% RAP for evaluation.  This report presents the initial construction and laboratory performance data and discusses the lessons learned from these trials. 

In general, mixtures containing up to 45% RAP can be designed, produced, and constructed if proper procedures are followed and attention to detail is paid during design, production, and construction.  As expected, all high RAP mixtures (i.e., mixtures containing >30% RAP) showed excellent rutting resistance based on laboratory testing. Laboratory performance testing indicated that the cracking resistance of high RAP mixtures depends on mixture and binder stiffness.  The early field performance (2 to 3 years) of high RAP mixtures showed excellent rutting resistance and low values for the international roughness index, indicating smooth pavement.  No premature cracks were observed in the high RAP sections.  However, continued monitoring of these field sections is required to evaluate the long-term field performance.

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.

Last updated: November 9, 2023

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