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Dr. S. Gangopadhyay1 and K. Sitaramanjaneyulu2
1Director, CSIR - Central Road Research Institute, New Delhi
2Senior Principal Scientist, CSIR - Central Road Research Institute, New Delhi

Indian road network of 3.3 million km of total road length has second largest road
network next to USA. We are still adding thousands of kilometers of road length
through the large number of infrastructure programmes that are currently going on. To
meet the need of growing economy, the pace of infrastructure development will have
to be enhanced. The road being an important infrastructure full attention is being given
by Government to create better quality roads which can take large volume of traffic
and ensure fast and safe travel. Special programmes under NHDP to develop National
Highways, JNNURM for developing urban infrastructure, PMGSY for better
connectivity to rural areas are some examples. All these programmes are being
implemented with Central and State Government funds and PPP mode. It is expected
that an investment of Rs. 8 to 10 lakh crores will be made in road sector alone in the
next 12 to 15 years.
The ambitious road modernization and development projects provide immense
opportunities to introduce innovative technologies in maintenance of flexible
pavements that would lead to high quality roads and reduce life cycle costs. Several
innovative technologies have come up in the last one decade in maintenance industry.
This paper deals with a brief of these technologies which have been suitability adopted
/ demonstrated in India for sustainable maintenance of flexible pavements.
The tendency to use only conventional materials and mixes in road maintenance
programmes are the biggest barrier to innovation. Today very limited options are
available to deal with a variety of demanding situations in a cost effective manner. Use
of innovative technologies appropriate to specific conditions will have to be
encouraged for assured performance and durability. Capabilities will have to be


improved for evaluating alternatives so that new specifications and new technology
products can be used in practice with confidence. This is high time to promote use of
new products, specifications and technologies that satisfy the requirements of
performance, durability and cost savings. A brief of innovative technologies have been
presented in this paper which can be suitably adopted for sustainable maintenance of

2.1 Microsurfacing
Microsurfacing is most versatile tool in road maintenance and is a major breakthrough
among environmental friendly cold mix technologies across the world. This
technology have advantage over conventional slurry sealing, being slightly thicker in
application, fast and least effected by temperature stresses. Microsurfacing can be
successfully used in different situations for sustainable maintenance of roads.
Microsurfaing is a mixture of polymer or latex modified bitumen emulsion, well graded
crushed fine material aggregate, mineral filler (portland cement), water and chemical
additives ( identical to emulsifier). It is generally applied using a microsurfacing paver
(Photo-1) without rolling at ambient temperature. This is generally laid in 6 to 12 mm
thickness. Cement is used as accelerator to control cohesion and breaking time of
emulsion in a microsurfacing mix. Special additives are used to increase the time of
initial breaking of emulsion in microsurfacing mix depending upon prevailing climatic
conditions. Microsurfacing is generally opened to vehicular traffic within an hour at a
controlled speed sometimes in 2 to 3 hours in adverse climate conditions. Cold weather
with high humidity do require longer time for opening to traffic or in such situations,
dose of additives may be reduced or cement may be enhanced.

Photo-1: Typical View of Laying of Microsurfacing with Paver


The advantages of microsurfacing over hot mix surface treatments are as under:
preserve the pavement structural strength and prevent ingress of water
seal fine and medium cracks, restore nonskid characteristics of surface.
rejuvenate dry and hungry surface and prevent ravelling.
increase visibility of pavement surface at night.
reduce entry of air and water into existing lower layer of pavement.
checks requirement of corrective maintenance and reconstruction.
raise in pavement height is marginal say 6 to 12 mm as compared to 25 to 40 mm
in case of conventional thin hot mix overlay.
non polluting, consumes only 10 to 15% energy of the quantum consumed in 20 to
40 mm thick hot mix laying.
The limitations of microsurfacing as maintenance treatments are as under:
microsurfacing treatments may not be successful for structurally unsound
pavements with characteristics deflection greater than 1 mm.
microsurfacing treatments may not be successful for surface with extensive deep
and wide cracks ( > 6mm).
being a thin layer 6 to 12 mm, the unevenness may be corrected marginally.
cannot be laid by manual methods, microsurfacing paver is essential.
The first test section of microsurfacing was laid in the year of 2001 on Prithaviraj Road
under supervision of CRRI and evaluated for five years, thereafter more than 50 roads
have been resurfaced with microsurfacing in Delhi under jurisdiction of PWD &
The tentative specifications for slurry seal and microsurfacing are given in IRC: SP:
81-2008.Photo 2 shows roads laid with microsurfacing treatments on Delhi Roads.

Rajaji Marg

Kamal Arraurk Marg

Photo - 2: Roads Laid with Microsurfacing Treatments on Delhi Roads


2.2 Stone Matrix Asphalt (SMA)

Stone Matrix Asphalt was developed in Germany. These mixes may be prepared by
modification of conventional bituminous binder with polymeric materials or by
modifications in matrix of mix. The Stone Matrix Asphalt mix is a gap graded hot mix
which contains 70 to 80 percent coarse aggregate, 6 to 7 percent of binder, 8 to 12
percent of filler and about 0.3 to 0.5 percent cellulose fiber or other modifier. The
higher amount of coarse aggregate in SMA as compared to dense graded mixture
having more contact points (Photo-3) which provides better stone to stone contact
between the coarse aggregate particles, such contact points provide a high resistance to
rutting and influence to reduce the type and amount of binder on rutting, while the
higher binder content in mortar adds to durability of mix. The stabilizing additives acts
to hold the bitumen binder in the mixture at the high temperature during production
and placement of mix and eventually reduces the drain down of the binder.

Photo-3: Comparison of Stone to Stone Contact Points of BC and SMA
SMA exhibits superior properties in several key areas when compared with
conventional asphaltic concrete, these being:
resistance to rutting due to slow, heavy and high traffic volume.
resistance to deformation at high pavement temperatures.
improved skid resistance.
noise reduction over conventional alternative pavement surfaces.
improved resistance to fatigue effects and cracking at low temperatures.
increased durability.
reduced permeability and sensitivity to moisture .


The reasons for these above positive behavior of SMA pavement surface with heavily
trafficked conditions can be attributed to its design principles. Number of test sections
on NDMC and MCD roads and roundabouts in Delhi have already been laid with SMA.
The tentative specifications for Stone Matrix Asphalt are given in IRC: SP: 79-2008.
Photo -4 shows the typical view of laying of SMA mix. The typical view of surface
texture of freshly laid SMA is shown in Photo- 5.

Photo- 4: Typical View of SMA Laying

Photo- 5:Surface Texture of Freshly Laid SMA

2.3 Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA)

Warm Mix Asphalt is not a hot mix asphalt, it is just warm mix. The warm mix asphalt
production temperature typically ranges from 100 to 140 C0, whereas for Hot Mix
Asphalt (HMA) it ranges between 150 to 170 C0. The WMA technology allows a
reduction in the temperature at which asphalt mixes are produced and placed. These
technologies tend to reduce the viscosity of the asphalt and provide complete aggregate
coating at lower temperatures. Photo- 6 shows typical view of Warm Mix Asphalt

Photo- 6: Typical View of Warm Mix Laying

The WMA has certain distinct advantages over Hot Mix Asphalt. The range of
potential benefits from WMA technologies includes:

as the temperature level is relatively low, air-pollution caused due to emission and
fumes is less. Also, the ageing of asphalt binder during the heating process is
controlled considerably.
less energy requirements for production of mix.
temperature drop during mix transportation is no longer a concern. The
construction season expands and the haul distance increases.
compacting efforts is less so as to achieve a specified compaction level.

The production of WMA mix is simple and does not require any major modifications
to the hot mix plant system. Various ingredients used in the WMA production are
patented products. Two major types of WMA technologies are those that use water and
those that use some form of organic additives or wax to affect the temperature
Warm asphalt technology seems to be quite promising. It consumes 30% less energy,
reduces carbon dioxide emission by 30% and reduces dust emission by 50- 60%
compared to hot mix asphalt. Further research is needed so as to validate the expected
field performance of such a mix,specially with reference to mix compatibility, rate of
gain of structural strength after construction, rutting potential, moisture sensitivity.
Two years back, CRRI has laid a test section with EvothermTM at Delhi State Industrial
& Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIDC) site at Bawana Industrial Area in
Delhi. It is the first test section with WMA in India and being monitored periodically
for its performance.

2.4 Plastic Waste Utilization in Road Maintenance

The plastic waste could be used in road maintenence after proper processing as an
additive would enhance the life of the roads and also solve environmental problems.
Plastic is everywhere in todays lifestyle. It is used for packaging, protecting, serving
and even disposing of all kinds of consumer goods. With the industrial revolution,
mass production of goods started and plastic seemed to be a cheaper and effective raw
material. Today, every vital sector of economy starting from agriculture to packaging,
automobile, building construction, communication on Infotech has been virtually
revolutionized by the applications of plastics. Use of this non-biodegradable product
is growing rapidly and the problem is what to do with plastic waste. The use of plastic
waste has been a concern for scientists and engineers for a quite long time. The
scientists / engineers have developed a way to use plastic waste for road construction.
The following types of plastic waste can be used in the construction of roads:


films (carry bags, cups) thickness upto 60 micron

hard foams, any thickness
soft foams, any thickness
laminated plastics thickness upto 60 micron (aluminum coated also) packing
materials used for biscuits, chocolates etc.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) sheets or flux sheets should not be used in any case. When
processed plastic waste mixed with hot bitumen, plastic melts to form an oily coat over
the aggregate and the mixture is laid on the road surface like a normal bituminous road.
The various steps involved for production of bituminous mixes using plastic waste are
as under:

plastic waste (bags, cups, thermocole) cut into a size between 2.36 mm and 4.75
mm using shredding machine. The PVC waste should be eliminated.
the aggregate is heated upto 165 0C and transferred to mixing chamber.
similarly, the binder is to be heated upto a maximum of 160 0C to have good binding
and to prevent weak bonding (monitoring of the temperature is very important)
at the mixing chamber, the shredded plastic waste is to be added. It get coated
uniformly over the aggregate within 30 to 60 seconds, giving an oily look.
the plastic waste coated aggregate is mixed with heated bitumen and the resulted
mix is used for road construction. The road laying temperature should be in between
110 0C to 120 0C.

The following are the advantages by using plastic waste in road construction:
easy laying process without any new machinery
in-situ process
use of lesser percentage of binder and thus saving on bitumen resource
use of plastic waste for a safe and eco- friendly process
both Mini Hot Mix Plant and Central Mixing Plant can be used
only aggregate is polymer coated and bitumen is not modified
use of VG-10 & VG- 30 bitumen is possible
no emission of any toxic gases like dioxin
The durability of the roads laid out with shredded plastic waste is expected to be better
than the conventional ones. The binding property of plastic makes the road last longer
besides giving added strength to withstand more loads. Rainwater will not seep through
because of the plastic in the bitumen. So, this technology will result in lesser road
repairs. The cost of plastic road construction may be slightly higher (10 to 15%)
compared to conventional method. Plastic roads would be a boom for Indias hot and
extremely humid climatic zone, where temperature frequently cross 50 0C and terrestial

rains create havoc, leaving most of the roads with big potholes. A number of roads
have already been laid with waste plastic in Delhi under supervision of CRRI. Photo7 shows typical view of roads laid with waste plastic in East Delhi area.

Photo-7: Typical View of Roads Laid with Waste Plastic in East Delhi Area
The government is keen on encouraging the setting up of small plants for mixing waste
plastic and bitumen for road construction. It is hoped that in near future we will have
strong, durable and eco-friendly roads which will relieve the earth from all types of
plastic waste.
2.5 Recycled Asphalt Pavement
Recycling of Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) material results in a reusable mixture of
aggregate and asphalt binder known as Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP). Recycling
of asphalt pavements is a valuable approach for technical, economical, and
environmental reasons. Use of RAP has been favored over virgin materials in the light
of the increasing cost of asphalt, the scarcity of quality aggregates, and the pressuring
need to preserve the environment. There is significant savings when RAP is used.
Considering material and construction costs, it was estimated that using reclaimed
HMA pavement provides a saving ranging from 15 to 35% for a RAP content varying
between 20 to 50%. The use of RAP also decreases the amount of waste produced and
helps to resolve the disposal problems of highway construction materials, especially in
large metropolitan cities. It is concluded so far that the use of RAP will not only be a
beneficial alternative in the future but will also become a necessity to ensure economic
competitiveness of flexible pavement construction. The maximum percentage of RAP
that can be used, ranging typically between 10 to 50%. However, high percentage of
RAP are not commonly used in practice. A maximum RAP percentage of 50% may be
allowed in HMA shoulders and stabilized sub-bases. However, ensuring confidence in
the design procedure and the success of using RAP would require addressing many
durability concerns related to the interaction between virgin and recycled materials.


One major factor that is still unclear is the level of interaction between aged and virgin
asphalt binders. If RAP acts like a black rock, the aged and virgin binders will not
interact. Hence, it would be assumed that RAP does not significantly change the virgin
binder properties. However, it is usually assumed that RAP does not act as, a block
rock and that the aged asphalt blends with the virgin binder during mixing. In fact,
many design procedures assumes that all the aged binder is fully available in the
mixture and would effectively contribute to the blend. This means that the amount of
virgin asphalt binder can be reduced by the full amount of asphalt binder in the RAP
for the percentage specified. Relative to asphalt pavement recycling, there are several
methods available. Therefore, each road being considered for recycling must be
carefully evaluated to determine the method most appropriate. The factors should
o existing pavement condition,
o existing pavement material types and thickness,
o recycled pavement structural requirements and
o availability of recycling additives.
HMA recycling can be divided into two basic categories based on the recycling
methods used :
Hot Recycling
Cold Recycling
2.5.1 Hot Recycling
Hot recycling is so named because RAP is used as an aggregate in HMA. In hot
recycling, old HMA pavement is removed, broken down into aggregate-sized chunks
and then incorporated into new HMA as an aggregate. There are two basic methods for
accomplishing this:

Recycled Hot Mix (RHM): Recycled Hot Mix (RHM) is the most common way
of using RAP. Basically, new HMA is produced at a batch or drum mix plant to
which a predetermined percentage of RAP is added (Photo-8).


Introduction of RAP material into Drum

Mix PlanRemixing and Laying
Photo-8: Hot Mix Recycling
RAP addition may require longer HMA plant heating times. This can sometimes reduce
plant output by as such as half. In general, RAP will be more viscous than new HMA
because of asphalt binder ageing. Therefore, if enough RAP is added, a softer asphalt
binder should be used. After milling or crushing, RAP gradation is generally finer than
pure virgin aggregate because of the degradation that occurs during removal and

Hot In-Place Recycling (HIPR): Hot in- place recycling (HIPR) is a less common
form of hot asphalt recycling (Photo-9).

Pavement surface before recycling

Laying is in progress
Photo-9: Hot In-Place Recycling
There are three basic HIPR construction processes in use, all of which involve a
specialized plant in a continuous train operation:
(a) Heater scarification: This method uses a plant that heats the pavement surface
(typically using propane radiant heaters), scarifies the pavement surface using a
bank of non-rotating teeth, adds a rejuvenating agent to improve the recycled
asphalt binder viscosity, then mixes and levels the recycled mix using a standard
auger system. The recycled asphalt pavement is then compacted using


conventional compaction equipment. Heater scarification is limited in its ability

to repair severely rutted pavements, which are more easily rehabilitated with a
conventional HMA overlay.
(b) Repaving: This method removes (by heating and scarification and / or grinding)
the top 25 to 50 mm of the existing HMA pavement, adds a rejuvenating agent to
improve the recycled asphalt binder viscosity, places the recycled material as a
leveling course using a primary screed, and simultaneously places a thin ( usually
less than 25 mm) HMA overlay. Conventional equipment and procedures are used
immediately behind the train to compact both layers of material.
(c) Remixing: This method is used when additional aggregate is required to improve
the strength or stability. Remixing is similar to repaving but adds new virgin
aggregate or new HMA to the recycled material before it is levelled.
HIPR is only applicable to specific situations. First, air void content of the existing
asphalt binder must be high enough to accept the necessary amount of asphalt binder
rejuvenator. Second, HIPR can only adequately address shallow surface distress
problems (less than 50mm). Third pavements with delaminations (subsequent layers
not binding together) in the top 50 mm should not be considered for HIPR projects.
Finally, pavements that have been rutted, heavily patched, or chip-sealed are not good
candidates for HIPR projects.

2.5.2 Cold Recycling

Cold recycling is so named because RAP is used as an aggregate in cold mix asphalt.
In cold recycling, old HMA pavement is removed broken down into aggregate-sized
chucks and then combined with an emulsified or foamed asphalt. This mix is then
typically used as a stabilized base course for reconstructed pavements. There are two
basic cold recycling methods:

Cold In-Place Recycling (CIR): Cold in-place recycling (CIR) is the processing
and treatment with bituminous and / or chemical additives of existing HMA
pavements without heating to produce a restored pavement layer. It involves the
same process of cold plant mix recycling except that it is done in-place by a train
of equipment (Photo-10). CIR is best suited for cracked pavement with structurally
sound, well drained bases and subgrades.


Photo-10: Cold In-Place Recycling

Cold Plant Mix Recycling: Cold plant mix recycling, the less common of the two
cold recycling methods, involves mixing RAP with as asphalt emulsion or foamed
asphalt at a central or mobile plant facility. A rejuvenating agent can be added to
improve the recycled asphalt binder viscosity and new aggregate can also be added
to improve overall performance. The resulting cold mix is then typically used as a
stabilized base course.

CRRI has worked as an independent agency to check the quality of hot in-place
recycling work on M.B. Road, New Delhi.
However, the other Recycling
technologies, as discussed above yet to be implemented / demonstrated in India.
In view of the growing number of the vehicles with the ever increasing axle loads and
increased tire pressures, the conventional paving technologies do not perform its
intended function for the anticipated design life. Therefore, various technologies
describe above have been adopted and validated to have extended performance. These
technologies have good prospect and chance to flourish in India looking at the quantum
of the infrastructure activities going on. However, one has to be careful in the
application of these technologies as they all require very stringent quality control,
excellent workmanship and expertise. The following areas which require further
research in this direction are as under:

Development of technologies to save aggregates

Innovative technologies for utilization of waste and marginal material
Design methods and mixes towards reduced pavement thickness
Warm and cold mix technologies for construction/maintenance
Maximum use of RAP in construction and maintenance
Evaluation of non conventional material using Accelerated Pavement Testing
Facility (APTF)
Prevention of failure of pavements due to stripping and rutting