A long-awaited report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) was released Nov. 14, describing materials and practices used to improve the performance of pavements across the United States. Among its points, the report singled out the use of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) in building roads with performance characteristics similar to those constructed with new materials but at a lower cost. The State of Washington said it saves $15 million to $20 million annually by using RAP.
The report was initiated at the request of Reps. John J. Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.) and Frank LoBionda (R-N.J.) on behalf of the Geosynthetic Materials Association. GAO expanded the scope of the study to include all materials, including warm-mix asphalt (WMA), reclaimed and recycled materials, and stone-matrix asphalt, as well as pavement design and material testing practices. The GAO consulted with NAPA, officials from FHWA, and various states around the country.
States interviewed for the report expressed concerns with geosynthetic materials because they can interfere with operation of the milling equipment when performing future pavement work. The report also included a section on the challenges and barriers associated with states adopting new pavement technologies and practices. In addition, intelligent compaction is mentioned throughout the report.
For a copy of GAO-13-32R, "Information on Materials and Practices for Improving Highway Pavement Performance," click here. A second GAO report is due in June 2013 on best practices for calculating life-cycle costs and benefits.