Richmond, Va. – The pavement-recycling project the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) conducted on Interstate 81 to rebuild a section of the roadway is performing “well” after three years of high-volume truck traffic, according to a new VDOT research report. The environmentally friendly paving methods saved millions of dollars by recycling existing road material back into the new pavement and road structure and reduced the project’s estimated construction time by about two-thirds.

The 2011 project cost $10.2 million. VDOT used three pavement-recycling processes to rehabilitate a 3.66-mile portion of southbound I-81 in Augusta County, the first time the three methods were used together on a single interstate reconstruction project in the nation.

“This project firmly illustrates how VDOT is employing the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ principle as a serious and cost-saving method for rehabilitating Virginia’s roads,” said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne, Jr. “These significant results show how we reduced emissions, costs and the raw materials needed to rebuild a road that will stand up to today’s traffic.”

“The I-81 project demonstrates that pavement recycling is viable on high-volume, high-priority routes,” said VDOT Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick. “As we rebuild more of our aging interstates and other routes, VDOT continues to use these innovative pavement-recycling techniques as a standard option for improving our roads to keep Virginia moving.”

Research results

After monitoring the construction of the I-81 segment, VDOT’s research arm, the Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research (VCTIR), analyzed the roadway’s performance and found that “field performance tests demonstrated that the [rehabilitated] section…continues to perform well after nearly three years of high-volume interstate traffic.”

The report recommends that VDOT should “pursue in-place pavement recycling as a pavement rehabilitation technique…where it is most suitable.”

The VCTIR research report on the “I-81 In-Place Pavement Recycling Project” is available at