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Recommended Revisions to MORTH Specifications Section 500 by Prof. Kandhal 18 May 2009

Recommended Revisions to MORTH Specifications Section 500 by Prof. Kandhal 18 May 2009

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The MORTH Specifications (2001) for producing and placing dense-graded bituminous paving mixes have been reviewed in detail and recommendations made. The recommendations based on the current state-of-the-art technologies pertain to: selection of viscosity grade bitumen; amount of natural sand in fine aggregate; Marshall mix design procedures in the latest Asphalt Institute MS-2; mixing and compaction temperatures based on viscosity graded bitumen; minimum mat compaction density based on theoretical maximum specific gravity of loose mix; and quality acceptance criteria. It has been recommended to have only one specification each for all dense graded bituminous mixes used in base course, binder course, and wearing course. Together, all recommendations form guidelines for obtaining long lasting pavements in India.
The MORTH Specifications (2001) for producing and placing dense-graded bituminous paving mixes have been reviewed in detail and recommendations made. The recommendations based on the current state-of-the-art technologies pertain to: selection of viscosity grade bitumen; amount of natural sand in fine aggregate; Marshall mix design procedures in the latest Asphalt Institute MS-2; mixing and compaction temperatures based on viscosity graded bitumen; minimum mat compaction density based on theoretical maximum specific gravity of loose mix; and quality acceptance criteria. It has been recommended to have only one specification each for all dense graded bituminous mixes used in base course, binder course, and wearing course. Together, all recommendations form guidelines for obtaining long lasting pavements in India.

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Published by: Prof. Prithvi Singh Kandhal on Sep 03, 2009
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06/17/2013

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MEMORANDUMTo:
Shri V. K. Sinha, Additional Director General Roads, MORTHShri R. P. Indoria, Secretary General, Indian Roads Congress
From:
Prof. Prithvi Singh Kandhal, Jaipur 
Subject:
Revision of MORTH Orange Book Section 500 on Bituminous Pavements
Date:
18 May 2009Gentlemen,As requested by you, I have prepared draft revisions to the entire Section 500 of 2001MORTH Specifications (Fourth Revision), that is, the so-called small orange book on bituminous pavements. The recommended revisions follow this memorandum for your consideration.I am really glad MORTH has finally undertaken the revision of the orange booearnestly. I hope the revised book will be published very soon.I have recommended radical surgery of Section 500 (Bituminous Pavements) to removethe unnecessary dead wood and to overhaul the total bituminous specifications to bring itup to date. This action warrants the following general statement so that the MORTHreviewers (who will finalize the revision of the orange book) are objective rather thansubjective in their judgment.
GENERAL STATEMENT
There is a proliferation of bituminous paving mixes in our orange book. It provides 6types of bituminous base courses, 6 types of bituminous binder courses, and 6 types of  bituminous wearing courses (total 18 types). These also include Premix Carpet andMixed Seal Surfacing for wearing course and Bituminous Penetration Macadam (BPM)and Built-Up Spray Grout (BUSG) for binder course. Too many options for a specific bituminous course have created confusion in mix selection and are mainly responsible for the poor performance of flexible pavements in India. What is so special about India whenmost countries of the world including the US can build excellent roads (ranging fromrural to national highways) with only one bituminous mix for a specific bituminouscourse such as base course, binder course, and wearing course? If the life of the roads inIndia was equal or better than that in other countries, keep all these 18 mixes by allmeans. However, we have a dismal record on road performance and durability. Mosthighway engineers now agree that the life of bituminous surfaces in India is 3 to 5 yearscompared to 8 to 10 years in most other countries.The reviewers of the orange book should be requested to read the paper titled, “ A CriticalReview of Bituminous Mixes Used in India”, by P. S. Kandhal, V. K. Sinha, and A.1
 
Veeraragavan recently published in the Journal of the Indian Roads Congress, Volume 69-2, July-September 2008 and presented at the IRC Session in Kolkata. The authors havemade a detailed technical and economical comparison of BM with DBM in Section 5.1 of the paper in terms of permeability, structural strength, use as PCC, cost considerations,traffic conditions, and general statements. It was concluded with technical justificationsthat dense graded DBM should be used in lieu of open graded, undrained BM especiallyto obtain long lasting pavements. Numerous positive comments have been received onthis paper, which made a strong case of drastically reducing the number of bituminousmixes in the orange book by deleting some mixes such as Bituminous Macadam (BM)and Semi-Dense Bituminous Concrete (SDBC), which are fundamentally flawed and arenot cost effective.However, despite many fundamental, technical flaws associated with BM as mentioned inthe paper, some engineers still advocate to retain it in the specifications. This is probablydue to the following misconceptions:
 Dense graded DBM is not flexible enough to be placed directly on WMM and therefore a “flexible” BM course is necessary between the WMM and DBM.
If theDBM was not flexible it would not rut at all. But that is not the case. If there isuneven settlement /consolidation of WMM, the DBM is flexible enough todeform and adjust similar to BM if that is what is desired. It is a common practicein most countries of the world to place DBM type bituminous base course directlyon crushed stone base course (we call it WMM). That practice has resulted indurable long lasting pavements without any problems.
 BM is cheaper than DBM and that is why it is good for a developing country like India.
A detailed, comparative cost analysis given in the paper shows that theDBM is cheaper than the BM by 15 to 21% if the relative structural strengths areconsidered. Only when the BM is used as PCC to correct camber/super elevationit is cheaper than the DBM. But the problem still remains that the undrained BMPCC would trap moisture/water creating a “bath tub” within the pavement andthus will be potentially detrimental to the pavement.Some engineers have suggested retaining the BM but providing outlet for the water trapped in the open graded BM. To do this, the BM has to be extended all the way to theedge of the embankment (that is, day lighted) or pavement edge drains have to beconstructed to drain the BM. Both of these configurations which are shown in Figs. 2(a)and 2(b) of the paper to drain a permeable asphalt treated base (PATB) are very expensive propositions. Even developed countries use the PATB as a drainage layer only on selectedheavy duty roads. It should also be mentioned here that if we must use a drainage layer inIndia in exceptional circumstances, we should use PATB rather than the BM because theformer with 2-3% bitumen content and coarser gradation is not only cheaper but alsomore permeable.If BM is used as PCC for correcting camber, it may not be possible to drain the BMwedge (triangle) especially if it is towards a raised median. Moreover, rainwater falling inthe raised median may also enter sideways into the open graded BM wedge and cause2
 
stripping and potholes. Such a case has been observed on a national highway in India.As mentioned in the paper, it is time to move on from open graded “cheaper” mixes todense graded, durable mixes if our objective is to have long lasting pavements both for low-volume and high-volume roads. Time is of essence. There is no need to conduct anyresearch, as some might say, and wait for the results. That will simply delay this change,which is based on common sense, is already practiced in the world, and is now longoverdue in India.There is a trend in the world to use only dense-graded bituminous mixes both for low andhigh traffic roads so that long lasting pavements, which require minimal maintenance,can be constructed. (Obviously, use of premix carpet directly on WBM for rural roads isacceptable.) The revised Section 509, “Dense Graded Bituminous Mixes” recommendsonly 4 mixes: one for base course, one for binder course, and two for wearing course.If the dense graded 9.5 mm NMAS wearing course as recommended in proposed Clause509 is adopted, there is no need for the “semi-dense” SDBC, which is technically flaweddue to pessimum voids as explained in the IRC paper. The recommended dense gradedmix (which can also be used in thin 25 mm applications) will be more durable and costeffective than the SDBC, because the former is only about 5% costlier than the latter.Two new Clauses 423 and 424 have been added to include specifications for cold,stockpileable pothole repair mix and stone matrix asphalt (SMA), respectively.This memorandum along with my recommended revisions to Section 500 (BituminousPavements), the entire small orange book, is being shared with over 600 highwayengineers (government, contractors, consultants, and academia) all across India. I believethey all are looking forward to a simpler (that is, less number of mixes by cutting thedead wood and eliminating outdated and technically flawed mixes) and a progressiveorange book. Only an objective review (free of preconceived notions andmisconceptions) can accomplish this objective. I sincerely hope MORTH review and thefinal revisions will not disappoint them.My recommendations for revising Section 500 now follow.3

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