Cost Estimate of B vs. C Grade Asphalt Binders

Polymer modified binders (PMB) have been shown over the decades to have superior rheological and mechanical properties compared to unmodified asphalts. However, the higher costs of PMBs has prevented a wider use of these materials. While for high traffic roads, the choice of superior products is more obvious, for lower volume roads, there isn’t always enough information to allow engineers to determine if using a PMB is cost-effective in the long run. For example, for a job of 50,000 t, a difference of $12 per ton results in an additional cost of $600k, which is very significant for local roads authorities. In Minnesota, the necessity of understanding the benefits of using polymer modification, which provides superior resistance to cracking, is even greater, since asphalt pavements largely fail due to low-temperature cracking. Many local agencies use polymer modified binders, mainly PG 58H-34 (Grade C), in the asphalt mixtures for the wearing course, which reduce the occurrence of transverse cracking. However, the answer to the question “how cost-effective is the use of the Grade C binder, especially when compared to the cheaper PG58S-28 (Grade B) binder”, is not known. The main goal of the proposed research is to provide a well-informed answer to the above question. This will be accomplished by documenting and analyzing existing performance data, reviewing relevant case studies, perform experimental work on various asphalt binders and mixtures to evaluate their low temperature cracking resistance, and conduct a benefit-cost analysis to provide recommendations on when to use Grade B and Grade C for lower volume roads.


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    • Status: Active
    • Funding: $171,777.00
    • Contract Numbers:

      1036342 WO#20

    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Local Road Research Board

      395 John Ireland Boulevard
      St. Paul, Minnesota  United States  55155-1899
    • Managing Organizations:

      Minnesota Department of Transportation

      395 John Ireland Boulevard
      St Paul, MN  United States  55155
    • Principal Investigators:

      Marasteanu, Mihai

    • Start Date: 20210604
    • Expected Completion Date: 20230630
    • Actual Completion Date: 0

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01762505
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Minnesota Department of Transportation
    • Contract Numbers: 1036342 WO#20
    • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
    • Created Date: Jan 21 2021 4:39PM