Cold In-Place Recycling Defined
Cold in-place recycling (CIR) grinds off the top 2 to 6 (5) inches of old asphalt pavement, crushes and screens it to size, mixes it with an asphalt recycling agent and sometimes other additives, then paves it on the same roadway. Topped with a chip seal or hot mix asphalt overlay, the CIR lift removes deep cracks to form a rut resistant base at a cost-effective price.
It makes sense when defects in the old pavement do not run the full depth of the old pavement, yet are too deep to be corrected with mill-and-fill or hot-in-place recycling.
It doesn’t make sense when pavements have structural, drainage or base deficiencies. Though CIR can be used for full depth pavement repairs, deep failures should be addressed individually.
Cold in-place recycling is especially popular in rural areas, far from asphalt production facilities, because it dramatically reduces the amount of new materials needed for a strong road. It is also popular in cold climates because it offers a combination of excellent flexibility and rut-resisting stone-on-stone contact.
Tricks of the Trade
Top CIR contractors can modify the process to correct for problems in the original HMA mix or for the presence of many patches and repairs. They can also use stabilization additives to increase the structural strength and improve the life expectancy of the new base.
What it Costs
Cold in-place recycling savings are typically 15-50% compared to traditional alternatives. Actual savings depends on the parameters of the individual project.