Pennsylvania starts innovative recycled paving pilot in Armstrong County


The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has released details of an innovative paving method being deployed for the first time in the state to improve nearly five miles of rural roadway in Armstrong County.

The pilot, using recycled asphalt paving (RAP), has been made possible by PennDOT’s Road Maintenance and Preservation (Road MaP) initiative, which Governor Tom Wolf recently announced will invest US$2.1bn in roadway maintenance and highway and bridge capital projects over the next 10 years.

RAP is an environmentally conscious method that repurposes materials from projects onto other roadways by mixing ground millings with oil. RAP allows the department to pave less-traveled roads that otherwise would not be paved, or to reinforce roadway shoulders.

PennDOT will use RAP on 1.9 miles (3km) of Route 2018 (Campbell Run Road) and 3 miles (4.8km) of Route 2012 (Silvis Hollow Road). These roads were chosen based on their ‘poor’ pavement-quality rating, and proximity to the stockpile where the materials are stored. They also carry an average of fewer than 3,000 vehicles each day and trucks are less than 10% of the traffic. With roughly 3in (7.5cm) of RAP compared to an equivalent of 2in (5cm) of new asphalt, PennDOT estimates a US$225,000 cost with RAP compared to roughly US$371,000. PennDOT can redirect these savings to other maintenance improvements or contracts.

“Our Road MaP initiative provides more investment in our lower-traffic roadways, as well as our traffic routes and Interstates,” said PennDOT’s deputy secretary for highway administration, George McAuley. “Recycled asphalt pavement is one of the more beneficial and economical tools to improve secondary roads, and allows us to complete or contract even more work due the cost savings.”

Joe Dubovi, PennDOT’s district executive for the region including Armstrong County, added, “Our maintenance team has been managing their resources aggressively, but the additional maintenance resources provided through Road MaP were sorely needed. Last year, PennDOT estimated it would cost more than US$140m just to repave the 375 miles of low volume roads with rough pavements in Armstrong County. An additional US$15m will be invested in Armstrong County through the 2028-29 fiscal year due to Road MaP. The RAP pilot complements the US$119.4m in contract work – for an estimated 125 miles of roadway improvements and 28 bridge projects – anticipated to begin or be bid in the district in 2017.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).