Rubblization of concrete pavements with an asphalt overlay is a money- and time-saving alternative to performing a complete Portland cement concrete (PCC) removal and replacement. This method of concrete rehabilitation has documented success in the U.S. and around the world (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15). Research indicates that rubblization effectively mitigates reflective cracking, provides a long-lasting pavement, and saves both time and money compared to other alternatives.
Complete concrete slab removal and replacement has many disadvantages, including long lane closures (more traffic congestion), more dangers to the traveling public, and it is very expensive. Problems associated with PCC reconstruction can be solved by rubblizing the concrete, using it as a base material, and paving over it with asphalt. There are no drop-offs created during the process, and this option takes much less time to complete, which means less work zone exposure for the public. In fact, according to the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA), rubblization can be done in a fifth the time of PCC removal and replacement (6). In 2005, the Illinois Tollway completed a 31-mile, 4-lane rubblization project on I-88 in only 5 months (1). Additionally, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation saved 40 construction days by choosing rubblization over PCC reconstruction on Highway 58 (11).
Aside from the time and safety benefits of rubblization, there are also significant financial savings that can be realized. NAPA estimates that rubblization and asphalt overlay costs approximately a third as much as PCC removal and replacement (6). The Illinois Tollway saved $22 million on the I-88 project mentioned previously (1). A study done in Nevada estimated the savings of rubblization to be around $1.48 million per mile (7). Arkansas decided to rubblized and overlay 318 miles of their deteriorated interstate system, and saved an estimated $1.3 million per mile, for a total savings of over $400 million (12).
Not only are the initial costs cheaper, but research shows that the life-cycle costs are as well. A study conducted in 2008 showed that for a 4-lane, 1-mile section of concrete highway, the life-cycle cost for concrete removal and replacement was $1.3 million per mile, for an unbonded concrete overlay it was $1.2 million per mile, and for rubblization with an asphalt overlay it was $795,000 per mile (12). ALDOT’s life cycle cost analysis (LCCA) procedure shows that on average, rubblization is approximately 20% cheaper than concrete removal and replacement over the life of the pavement. Because the life-cycle costs are less, this means that rubblization provides a long-lasting pavement. A study conducted in Michigan indicated that with proper drainage, rubblized pavements should last approximately 21 years before needing rehabilitation (3). The Asphalt Institute has concluded that the expected life of a rubblized pavement is around 22 years (15). The statistics and proven performance of rubblized pavements make it a viable alternative when considering how to rehabilitate an old concrete pavement.
- Hampton, Tudor. Rubblizers Give Older Highways a Break in Projects from Arkansas to Afghanistan, Engineering News Record, January 23, 2006.
- Wolters, A. and K. Smith. Rubblization: Making an Impact in Michigan, Hot Mix Asphalt Technology Magazine, National Asphalt Pavement Association, Vol. 12, No. 4, 2007.
- Wolters, A., K. Smith, and C. Peterson. Evaluation of Rubblized Pavement Sections in Michigan, TRR No. 2005, Transportation Research Board, Washington, D.C., 2007. pp. 18-26.
- Makowski, L., D.L. Bischoff, P. Blankenship, D. Sobczak, and F. Haulter. Wisconsin Experiences with Reflective Crack Relief Projects, TRR No. 1905, Transportation Research Board, Washington, D.C., 2005. pp. 44-55.
- Morian, D.A., L. Coleman, D.J. Frith, S.M. Stoffels, and D. Dawood. Pennsylvania SPS-6 Performance at 10 Years: Evaluation of Concrete Pavement Rehabilitation Strategies, TRR No. 1823, Transportation Research Board, Washington, D.C., 2003. pp. 28-38.
- Rubblization, Information Series No. 132, National Asphalt Pavement Association, 2006.
- Bemanian, S. and P. Sebaaly. Cost-Effective Rehabilitation of Portland Cement Concrete Pavement in Nevada, TRR No. 1684, Transportation Research Board, Washington, D.C., 1999. pp. 156-164.
- Rubblization of Concrete Pavements, Florida Department of Transportation Report No. FL/DOT/SMO/98-426. August 1998.
- Timm, D.H. and A.M. Warren. Performance of Rubblized Pavement Sections in Alabama, Auburn University Highway Research Center, Auburn, Alabama, 2004.
- Thenoux, G. and M. González. Rehabilitación de pavimentos de hormigón empleando la técnica de trituración/fracturación (rubblizing). Evaluación capacidad estructural (translation: Bearing Capacity Evaluation of Rubblized Concrete Pavements), Materiales de Construcción, Vol. 59, No. 293, 2009.
- In-Place Resonant Rubblizing, Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Road Talk Magazine, Vol. 15, No. 1, 2009.
- Newcomb, D. Rubblization, Hot Mix Asphalt Technology Magazine, Vol. 13. No. 4, 2008.
- LaForce, R. and Yeh & Associates. Performance of Colorado’s First Rubblization Project on I-76 Near Sterling, Colorado Department of Transportation, Report No. CDOT-DTD-R-2005-20, 2006.
- Ceylan, H., K. Gopalakrishnan, and S. Kim. Rehabilitation of Concrete Pavements Utilizing Rubblization and Crack and Seat Methods (Phase II): Performance Evaluation of Rubblized Pavements in Iowa, Center for Transportation Research and Education, Iowa State University, Iowa, 2008.
- Resonant Machines Brochure, RMI, Kansas City, MO.
See the links below for more information on rubblization:
- Transportation Research Circular Number E-C087
Rubblization of Portland Cement Concrete Pavements,
- Performance of Rubblized Pavement Sections in Alabama, May 2004
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