Cold In-Place Recycling (CIR)

Bring the asphalt plant to your neighborhood or project to recycle your old asphalt into a new base course asphalt section; then cap it with a thinner lift of conventional hot mix.

That is precisely what CCPR does, and in so doing saves agencies and owners a considerable amount of money and time by recycling their existing asphalt assets. Many agencies are still doing things the old-fashioned way by paying contractors to haul away this valuable asset, and then paying a lot more per ton to import more conventional hot mix asphalt.

Your asphalt assets are worth approximately $25 to $35/ton; Instead of paying contractors to haul that valuable material away, and have the asphalt plants incorporate it into their hot mix and sell it back to you; why not recycle it yourself, save a lot of money, and stretch your budget dollars to enable yourself to do more projects?

Our infrastructure demands coupled with our budget constraints are not going to resolve themselves magically. We have to be smarter about the way we are doing things, and at the same time adopt a sustainable engineering approach that will benefit future generations. Our aggregate and oil resources are not infinite, and our current conventional remove and replace approach to our construction projects is wasteful. This modern sustainably engineered approach has proven itself many times over to enable agencies and owners to get more projects done with the same or reduced budget dollars without sacrificing structural integrity.

Benefits of CCPR:

  • Less expensive to produce and pave than conventional asphalt because all or most of the material used to produce it is in-place and has already been paid for. The costs to rehabilitate it with an engineered emulsion additive is less expensive than producing virgin hot mix made from all new materials. Typical overall project cost savings are on the order of 25% or more.
  • Smaller carbon footprint and reduced greenhouse gases because of the significant reduction in trucks exporting and importing materials and the reduced energy usage in the processing.
  • Shorter construction periods combined with reduced truck traffic for less disruptions to traffic, residents and businesses.
  • Restart the design life of the pavement section with no sacrifice to overall structural integrity. Pavement sections can be designed for 15 and 20 year design lives.
  • Can be used on projects with base and/or subgrade failures. Because the asphalt is milled off and hauled to the central plant location for processing, subgrade problems if prevalent, can be addressed with soil stabilization first.

On suitable projects, in-place recycling is the preferred choice to the more costly, time consuming, and environmentally detrimental remove and replace (R&R) construction method. Contact us for a project evaluation to see if the CCPR process is suitable for your project.

Cold Central Plant Recycling (CCPR) using PASS® R
City of Palm Desert

About Us

Formed in 1989, Pavement Recycling Systems (“PRS” or “Pavement”) is an employee-owned company working primarily in California, Nevada and Arizona. Pavement’s broad-based employee ownership structure translates into a strategic advantage for the company with every employee having a stake in the success of the company.

Read more…

Pavement Recycling Systems, Inc.
10240 San Sevaine Way
Jurupa Valley, CA 91752


Cold Central Plant Recycling

    • Quality Assurance


  • Inspection











Primary Resource

The inspector plays a vital role on every construction project ensuring that the completed operations comply with the plans and specifications. Recognizing that many agencies were inexperienced in performing cold central plant recycling, and hesitant to add the treatment to their pavement management systems because of their lack of familiarity, the Asphalt Recycling & Reclaiming Association worked with FHWA to develop the Basic Asphalt Recycling Manual (BARM) and a series of best practice guidelines. Copies of the BARM can be obtained at Information on where to obtain the best practice guidelines and additional CCPR resources can be found in the Additional Resources section at the bottom of this page. As with any construction process, if the owner agency is concerned with any part of the process, the owner agency should have a conversation with the contractor.

Inspection Guidelines

Inspection Guidelines

With CCPR, like most paving projects, the primary goal is to produce a strong, durable base course from existing pavement materials that is ready to receive a wearing surface. Inspectors can help achieve this goal by ensuring that the process is in accordance with the contract documents as follows:

Mix Design: Verify representative samples were obtained from the stockpile or throughout the project and that a mix design(s) was performed by a qualified lab resulting in a mixture that meets or exceeds the contract documents.

Surface Preparation: Walk or drive the entire pavement to be paved for the day to ensure the surface has been properly prepared and that all pre-construction repairs have been made.

Acceptable Weather: Measure the air and pavement temperature and check conditions for anticipated heavy rainfall to determine if construction can start.

Traffic Control: Verify that the proper traffic control is in place to keep the traveling public safe and out of freshly placed CCPR.

Quality Equipment:

  • Verify that the CCPR plant is equipped with a meter capable of recording the rate of flow/mass of RAP entering the pugmill.
  • Verify that nozzles and spray bars are working properly and are not plugged.
  • Verify that the crushing and screening unit, if required, is functioning properly by checking the maximum size of RAP.
  • For foamed asphalt, verify that the proper half-life and expansion ratio is being maintained.
  • Check the recycled mixture for uniformity and homogeneity as it is discharged from the CCPR plant.
  • Verify that the haul trucks are of the required type, number and size and that tarps are working properly.
  • Verify that the compaction equipment is of the required type, number and size and that scrapers and spray bars are properly working.

Quality Workmanship:

  • Verify that the existing pavement surface has been properly tacked
  • Verify that the recycled mixture is being placed to the proper depth, grade and cross-slope.
  • Ensure that the transverse and longitudinal joints are properly constructed.
  • Verify that paving fabric or crack sealer that exceeds the maximum size is removed from the recycled mixture.
  • Verify that a control strip was established to determine proper compaction procedures.
  • Verify that the rolling procedure established in the control strip is followed and that the compacted density is within the specified range. Reestablish the rolling pattern if the density of the recycled mixture is not in compliance.

Application Rates: Periodic checks should be made to verify that the amount of material being added to the recycled mixture is within the allowable tolerances.

Additional Resources

  • SP-027 Manual for Assessment of Surface Defects of In-Place Recycled Pavement Mats, Ontario Ministry of Transportation – A photo guide of mat distresses and remedial actions for cold recycled and FDR pavements.
  • ARRA CR102 Recommended Construction Guidelines For Cold Central Plant Recycling (CCPR) Using Bituminous Recycling Agents – A best practice guide for construction of CCPR mixtures.
  • ARRA CR301 Recommended Quality Control Sampling and Testing Guidelines For Cold Recycling Using Bituminous Recycling Agents – A best practice guide for construction quality control of CR mixtures.
  • Inspector Training for Cold In-Place Recycling (CIR): ID 2509 – A Transportation Curriculum Coordination Council web based training course.
  • Cold In-Place Asphalt Recycling Application Checklist – A pocket guide to inspection of CIR projects (provided by ARRA, FHWA and FP2)

Cold In-Place Recycling




(PCI of 70 or less)

A cost-effective, long-lasting, greener alternative to conventional maintenance and rehabilitation techniques. Cold In-place recycling (CIR) is a process that cold mills and recycles the top 2-5 inches of asphalt using a continuous train operation. Through the complete reuse of existing material, CIR greatly reduces trucking, time and natural resources to significantly lower project costs. Generally, any road that is a candidate for mill & fill is a candidate for CIR.

  1.  20%–50% less expensive than conventional maintenance and reconstruction methods
  2.  Reduces greenhouse emissions by up to 90%
  3.  Reuses 100% of existing materials
  4.  20%–40% faster construction times
  5.  Adds 15–20 years (combined with appropriate wearing course)
  6.  Most agencies use Structural Layer (a) Coefficients between 0.30–0.38 (Recent research indicates values from 0.36–0.44 may be more appropriate)
Issues Addressed
  • Frequent, severe, non-load distresses in top lift of hot mix
  • All distresses within the recycling depth (2-5 inches)
  • Reflective cracking from below CIR layer
  • Eliminates defects within the recycling depth
  • Blocks or slows reflective cracking
  • Reuses existing material in place
  • Replaces 1 or 2 lifts of hot mix
  • Allows for road widening where desired
Common Combinations
  • CIR + hot mix overlay (most common)
  • CIR + Single or Double Chip Seal
  • CIR + Micro or Slurry Surfacing
  • CIR + CCPR to increase treatment depth


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