Reconstruction of Railroads and Highways with In-Situ Reclamation Materials

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March 2009
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March 2010
June 2010
September 2010
December 2010
Research Brief Final Report

Primary Investigator

Tuncer B. Edil
University of Wisconsin-Madison
2226 Engineering Hall
1415 Engineering Drive
Madison, WI 53706


Development of freight transportation infrastructure, whether it is highway or rail, will need to address several issues to be sustainable and economic. The new infrastructure should sustain higher loads but also last longer, be economic to build, and minimize energy consumption and generation of green house gases for materials production and construction. Upgrading the existing infrastructure to meet the increased load requirements and satisfy sustainability is a challenging prospect. One such approach that meets these requirements is reconstruction of highways and railroads by in situ reclamation of existing materials (subgrade, unbound/bound pavement materials, and ballast (in the case of railroads) and enhancing their mechanical properties by additives to meet the enhanced load bearing requirements and durability. Such additives can be derived from conventional construction materials but also from industrial byproducts enhancing the sustainability aspects such as self-cementing fly ash, cement kiln dust, and other products. This project will evaluate such an approach.


The primary objective is to develop methods for in-situ strengthening of transportation roadbeds and rail corridors by reclaiming existing materials in a manner that will:

  • be able to sustain heavier loads,
  • have a long life,
  • be economical,
  • minimize energy consumption,
  • minimize greenhouse gas generation during production and transportation, and
  • not introduce new toxic materials into the environment.


  1. Literature Review
  2. Resilient Modulus of Stabilized Recycled Materials & Mix Design
  3. Scaling & Equivalency: Specimen Tests to Field-Scale Conditions
  4. Climate Effects
  5. Leaching Characteristics
  6. Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emission
  7. Final Report

Project Information

  • Duration: 24 months
  • Dates: September 1, 2008 – August 31, 2010
  • Budget: CFIRE: $130,084; Total: $219,255
  • Modal Orientation: Highway and Rail
  • Project ID: CFIRE 02-04
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