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Open Letter to the Chairman of the NHAI About Hot Recycling 18 November 2011

Open Letter to the Chairman of the NHAI About Hot Recycling 18 November 2011

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This open letter was sent to the Chairman of the National Highway Authority of India to implement hot mix recycling of asphalt pavements in India to effect savings worth crores and crores of rupees.
This open letter was sent to the Chairman of the National Highway Authority of India to implement hot mix recycling of asphalt pavements in India to effect savings worth crores and crores of rupees.

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Published by: Prof. Prithvi Singh Kandhal on Jan 07, 2012
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An Open Letter to the Chairman of the National Highway Authority of India
18 November 2011Shri A.K. UpadhyayChairman, National Highway Authority of IndiaG-5 & 6, Sector-10Dwarka, New Delhi – 110 075Subject: Why are we burying sugar worth crores of rupees under our nationalhighways?Dear Sir:The question in the subject is to draw your immediate personal attention andintervention. The question is legitimate except that we are burying road paving bitumen worth crores and crores of rupees under our national highways rather thansugar. Incidentally, both sugar and bitumen cost about the same: Rs. 30-35 per kg.The “burial” of bitumen which is our country’s “dharovar” (property) is being doneindiscriminately on some of our highways, which are being six-laned from theexisting four lanes. Existing four lanes of bituminous pavement get buried whileconstructing vehicle under passes, public under passes, and flyovers. In such cases,the existing bituminous pavement usually consisting of dense bituminous macadam(DBM) and bituminous concrete (BC) can be milled off and the reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) transported to hot mix plant for recycling. Asphalt pavement is100% recyclable.Here is an example. An existing four-lane national highway with a total length of 120km is to be made a six-laned highway. Due to construction of under passes andflyovers a total of about 30 km of the existing four lanes of bituminous pavement willget buried if not reclaimed and recycled. The total tonnage of bitumen, which will be buried, is estimated to be about 7,000 tons which has a value of more than 22 crorerupees. The total tonnage of aggregate in the bituminous pavement, which will alsoget buried, is estimated to be about 165,000 tons which has a value of over 6 crorerupees. So we will have a gross savings of over 28 crore rupees. The estimated cost of cold milling and transport of RAP to hot mix plant for recycling is about 8 crores.Therefore, a net savings of rupees 20 crores can be realized on this six-laning projectif hot mix recycling is implemented by the NHAI. There are many projects of thisnature which can save us hundreds of crores. I have verified that the one-time cost of modifying an asphalt batch plant to do hot mix recycling in India is only 20 lakhsrupees.Besides huge savings in cost and earning carbon credits, we also have to obtain lessvirgin aggregate from our quarries and also we have to import less crude oil to produce the paving bitumen.You will probably encounter the following arguments as to why NHAI should not
hot recycling of asphalt pavements. My response is given in parenthesis.1
It is a new technology. We cannot implement it because we do not havethe necessary experience.
[Hot recycling of asphalt pavements has become astandard, proven practice in many countries of the world for the last 30 years.It is not a US technology but a global technology. It is not a “rocket science”;we can implement it right away on major NH projects without waiting for that“experience” or “experimental field trials” just like NHAI has commendablyimplemented the use of robust stone matrix asphalt (SMA) mix recently onnational highways without any problem.]2.
Recycled hot asphalt mix may be inferior in performance to 100% virginasphalt mix.
[Numerous field studies in the developed countries have showntime and again that the performance of hot recycled asphalt mix is equal to or  better than 100% virgin mix. This is because the specification requirementsare generally the same for both.]3.
We are already recycling the milled RAP in the granular sub base (GSB)and/or wet mix macadam (WMM) on some national highway projects.
[Use of RAP in GSB or WMM cannot be called recycling; it is still a wasteful burial. Moreover, inclusion of discrete particles of RAP in GSB is detrimentalto its function as drainage layer in the pavement. Inclusion of discrete subrounded particles of RAP in WMM interferes with the interlockingcharacteristic of the WMM. Besides, the cost of bitumen is hardly realizedfrom this burial.]4.
We do not have an Indian Roads Congress (IRC) specification for hotasphalt recycling.
[As a member of the IRC Flexible Pavement Committee,last year I submitted two draft specifications to IRC for adoption to facilitatehot recycling. One specification is for cold milling and the other for hot mixrecycling. NHAI can use these two draft standards right now without waitingfor IRC’s final approval because time is of essence. These two draft standardsare attached.]5.
NHAI engineers, contractors and consultants are not trained in hot mixrecycling.
[I had the privilege of developing detailed, easy to understand,guidelines for recycling asphalt pavements; the project was funded by the USFederal Highway Administration (FHWA). This manual was used by me andmy associate Dr. Rajib Mallick to conduct field workshops throughout theUS to train highway engineers of state and local governments, contractors,and consultants. Twelve workshops were conducted by us in different partsof the US to train engineers of all 50 states. This comprehensive manualaddresses all issues related to recycling such as construction methods &equipment; materials & mix design; and case histories and QC/QA (qualitycontrol/quality assurance). This manual can be downloaded free at thefollowing internet link:http://www.scribd.com/doc/47299513/Pavement-Recycling-Guidelines-for-State-and-Local-Governments-Federal-Highway-Administration-Publication- No-FHWA-SA-98-042-December-1997However, training of NHAI engineers, contractors, and consultants in hot2
mix recycling is still needed. I am based in Jaipur. I offer my voluntaryassistance to NHAI for conducting training workshops. Travel, boarding andlodging expenses will have to be borne by NHAI.]It is my considered recommendation that hot mix recycling cannot beimplemented in India until the NHAI
its use on all major NHAI projects. Such a circular should be issued as soon as possible before we thehighway fraternity of India is blamed for squandering our country’s “dharovar” by burying it under our national highways. Just issuing a circular to “encourage”recycling is not enough any more. Recycling should also be allowed in existingcontracts with immediate effect. I am sure under your leadership recycling will become a reality very soon.This open letter is being shared with over 1000 highway engineers in India to promote recycling. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance. [My brief introduction is also attached.]Sincerely,Prof. Prithvi Singh KandhalJaipur  pkandhal@gmail.comThree attachments (A, B, and C).
Prof. Prithvi Singh Kandhal is Associate Director Emeritus of the National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) based at Auburn University, Alabama, U.S.A. NCAT isthe largest asphalt (bitumen) road technology center in the world.Prior to joining NCAT in 1988, Kandhal served as Chief Asphalt Engineer of thePennsylvania Department of Transportation for 17 years. He is the first person bornoutside North America, who has held the following three very prestigious positions inthe asphalt technology area:
President, Association of Asphalt Paving Technologists (with members fromall continents in the world),
Chairman, American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) InternationalCommittee on Road Paving Standards (responsible for over 200 standardsused worldwide), and
Chairman, Transportation Research Board Committee on Asphalt Roads, U.S. National Academy of SciencesProf. Kandhal has published over 120 technical papers and has co-authored the first3

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