Although pavement maintenance and rehabilitation (M&R) techniques are usually examined in economic terms, there is a growing need to address their environmental footprints as well. The objective of this study is to assess the environmental impacts of M&R techniques with the Athena Pavement LCA Software—a life cycle assessment (LCA) tool. LCA can help in the decision-making process of selecting suitable pavement maintenance techniques based on their environmental impacts. This study investigates four techniques for asphalt pavement maintenance: (1) pavement patching, (2) rout & sealing, (3) hot in-place recycling (HIR), and (4) cold in-place recycling (CIR). Global warming potential (GWP), acidification potential, human health (HH) particulate, eutrophication potential, ozone depletion potential and smog potential are estimated as environmental impacts for each of the maintenance activities. Materials, equipment use (for construction and M&R), and transportation were the main elements considered. A sensitivity test is performed using fractional factorial design approach to identify the significant factors for the LCA. The study concluded that GWP was the most important impact category for all the four M&R techniques. Rout & sealing and CIR produced the lowest GWP emissions and had less adverse environmental impacts of the four M&R techniques studied. Notably, pavement patching and HIR showed significant detrimental environmental impacts.

Contributors: Alam R, Hossain K, Butt A A, Caudle T, Bazan C.

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