Synthesis of Optimal Usage of Available Aggregates in Highway Construction and Maintenance
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Synthesis of Optimal Usage of Available Aggregates in Highway Construction and Maintenance

Filetype[PDF-2.17 MB]

  • English

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      Final report; May 2004-Nov. 2009.
    • Abstract:
      The optimization of available aggregates for highway construction and maintenance is vital both from an economic and environmental perspective. By not optimizing the aggregate supply, project costs escalate as a simple response to supply and demand. Just as important is the fact that aggregate is a natural resource and a limited one, it is crucial that it is used as efficiently as possible. This study examined specifically the use of aggregates by the South Carolina Department of Transportation, but can easily be adapted to any state. Through DOT surveys and an examination of aggregate gradation specifications, it was determined what specific sieve sizes were significantly different than other states. These specific sizes were then examined to determine if an adjustment of the specifications could better utilize the available aggregates. It was found that times of high construction greatly affect the balance of aggregates, but also that gradation specifications could be adjusted to better use the available aggregate sizes. In South Carolina, hot mix asphalt pavements are the primary causes of over and under-utilization of certain aggregate sizes. The 3/8-inch and 1/2-inch aggregate sizes have been the most over-utilized, and these sizes have a relatively tighter specification than other states. Based on the findings of this study, several recommendations have been made. It is recommended to further research the performance of possibly wider specification bands that will utilize some of the more available aggregates in the state. In addition, it is recommended to investigate the use of the maximum dust to binder ratio as well as the possibility of a base substitution, which could possibly better utilize the graded aggregate base materials such as crusher run. As long as performance and cost can be maintained, these changes could possibly better optimize the usage of the available aggregates in construction and maintenance. Finally, it is recommended that the SCDOT consider methods to forecast future aggregate needs and communicate this with the suppliers, who can then be better prepared to meet the demand.
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