Over the years, asphalt has become the most popular choice when it comes to selecting environmentally friendly pavements. To take it one step further, cold mix pavement layers have been developed to create even more sustainable products for road construction. Cold recycling techniques are methods that not only avoid the application of heat but reuse aged asphalt pavements already within the current infrastructure. This technique used helps treat raveling, potholes, skid resistance, rutting, block cracking, and so much more.
Cold recycling includes two subcategories, cold in place recycling (CIR) and cold central plant recycling (CCPR). In this article we will highlight a successful CIR project in Jefferson County, Indiana.
Many highway agencies recognize the benefits of using modified asphalts to reduce pavement distress and increase service life. A recent study from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) found that asphalt pavements with polymer-modified binders (PMBs) perform better than pavements with unmodified asphalt binders. They also found that modified binders are more cost-effective, even for local low-volume roads. While pavements with PMBs may cost more initially, performance is improved in the long run.
It is important to plan ahead when considering pavement protection and preservation techniques. Proactive pavement protection is an infrastructure investment, but it can also help ensure safety for drivers. One important aspect of pavement preservation is to reduce air voids. When air voids are high, permeability is high, which adversely affects pavement life. This is why using a Rapid Penetrating Emulsion (RPE) soon after pavement construction can be a wise investment.
After beginning in the Midwest in 2002, VRAM has now been used in 23 states and The District of Columbia. VRAM stands for Void-Reducing Asphalt Membrane. Pavement maintenance due to longitudinal joint cracking has long been a problem for not only road construction engineers and applicators but also drivers. VRAM fills air voids and significantly reduces permeability at the longitudinal joint and the area on each side of the joint.
Recently, West Virginia’s Division of Highways (WVDOH) has encountered the issue of high permeability at the longitudinal joint and subsequent failure of their asphalt pavements. Longitudinal joint issues can arise when hot and cold lanes fail to adequately bond with one another. WVDOH is responsible for constructing, reconstructing, and maintaining more than 35,000 miles of state roads. So, it is evident that the issue of high permeability can create big, expensive problems for their division of highways and taxpayers.
In August of 2022, a project took place in Martinsville, IN with our Cold-In-Place Recycling (CIR) technology.
CIR is a cost-effective and sustainable method of constructing a recycled asphalt-bound layer that reduces trucking and construction time and saves natural resources. CIR is part of our AMICYCLE™ product portfolio, which also includes FDR (Full Depth Reclamation) and CCPR (Cold Central Plant Recycling).
Washington, D.C. – 2023 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting
The Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting was held in Washington, D.C. earlier this year. This year’s theme was Rejuvenation Out of Disruption: Envisioning a Transportation System for a Dynamic Future. The meeting included exhibitors from academia, industry, and government agencies presenting the latest research findings, technical developments, and implementation efforts within the asphalt industry.
Asphalt Materials and HRG Labs had the unique opportunity to present two different posters at this year’s Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting in early January.
“Impact of Rumble Strips on Longitudinal Joint Pavement Performance”
“Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of a Void Reducing Asphalt Membrane and Other Longitudinal Joint Treatments“
In 2021, ClimeCo collaborated with Asphalt Materials, Inc. (AMI) to complete an LCA-based sustainability assessment of J-Band®, AMI’s void reducing asphalt membrane (VRAM) product. Together, ClimeCo and AMI wrote and presented their paper and poster titled, “Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of a Void Reducing Asphalt Membrane and Other Longitudinal Joint Treatments” at this year’s TRB Annual Meeting.
Caroline Kelleher and Gary Yoder from ClimeCo, Gerry Huber of HRG, and Todd Thomas from AMI are the paper’s authors. During the meeting, many attendees came by to learn more about the three sustainability attributes of J-Band: environmental, economic, and social (safety).
Important conclusions of this paper include the following:
There is significant potential to develop transportation infrastructure in line with the principles of sustainable development
Sustainability is an increasingly important component of transportation infrastructure, with federal, regional, and state entities having a range of awareness and education programs, all while promoting the use of ‘green’ or sustainable roadway products.
Upstream emissions associated with materials production are outside the carbon accounting of direct emissions, i.e., scope three instead of scope one emissions, and thus, as agencies and contractors look to reduce their scope one emissions, they will be evaluating methods and materials which will allow for a reduction in fuel usage.
Longitudinal joint solutions that offer the lowest application-phase emissions, reduced maintenance needs, and extended road lifetimes, will result in the lowest scope one emissions. In this analysis, VRAM and joint adhesive have the lowest construction phase emissions.
VRAM had the most economical life cycle cost performance compared to conventional joints and maintenance.
To read this paper, poster, other studies, and educational items about VRAM and J-Band, click the Resources link below.
Sustainability is very important to Asphalt Materials, Heritage Construction + Materials, and The Heritage Group. There are three pillars of sustainability: Economic. Environmental. Social/Safety.
Understanding Sustainability, LCAs, Cradle-to-Grave . . . and More!
There are many sources that use 3 pillars to help explain sustainability. But, explaining the three pillars of sustainability first requires defining sustainability. The concept of sustainability arose from environmental activism. It’s taken to mean making sure that the current generation can meet its needs without making it impossible for future generations to meet theirs. That is, we can sustain ourselves and posterity only with practices that do no future harm.1
We often hear talk about social sustainability, economic sustainability, and environmental sustainability. If we think of sustainability as the roof of a building that protects its occupants, we see that it takes all three pillars to hold it up. Sometimes people summarize them with the words people, profit, and planet. Weakness in any one pillar puts the roof in danger of collapsing. 1
Although the phrase “three pillars of sustainability” is common, one of the most helpful descriptions explains how they relate to each other via a Venn diagram. It comes closer to the related term “three spheres of sustainability.” In either case, no one of them can function optimally without both of the others as shown below.1
A Life Cycle Assessment A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), offers a framework for quantifying the potential environmental impacts of a product from cradle–to–grave (i.e., from growth/extraction of raw material inputs all the way through a product’s disposal), allowing us to make that determination. One of the many applications of an LCA is its ability to demonstrate the environmental benefits achieved by adopting different operational practices.
In February 2022, Gary Yoder and Jaskaran Sidhu wrote a story titled ‘What is a Life Cycle Assessment?’ This informative article highlights important information such as:
A Product’s Competitive Edge: Performance and Cost
Benefits of Product vs. Alternatives
Quantified GHGs and criteria air pollutants (AQ)
Using LCAs for a More Sustainable Future
To read the entire article, follow the link below:
Anyone who travels knows the importance of a smooth, safe drive—which is why cracks and potholes can ruin a journey. These obstacles can be caused by issues below the exterior, but applying the right formula to the surface of a road can have a much deeper impact.
The Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting was held in Washington, D.C. in early January. This year’s theme was Rejuvenation Out of Disruption: Envisioning a Transportation System for a Dynamic Future. The meeting included exhibitors from academia, industry, and government agencies presenting the latest research findings, technical developments, and implementation efforts within the asphalt industry.
Members of the Asphalt Materials, Heritage Construction & Materials and Heritage Research Labs teams will be attending this year’s AEMA-ARRA-ISSA Annual Meeting.
Recycling, sustainability and the circular economy are all important topics that businesses and industries are engaged with.
With today’s infrastructure, reuse of valuable existing resources is a critical component in a pavement manager’s arsenal. According to research, the advanced technologies used in recycling and reclamation processes can provide major benefits such as: significant cost savings, lowered environmental impact, and precision engineering for stronger, safer, more sustainable roads.
It is important to remember that, existing asphalt pavements contain the raw materials for new roads. Rarely replaced, asphalt pavements are either repaired or recycled.