By Steven Brahney | March 7, 2024


Navigating the RAP (Recycled Asphalt Pavement) predicament in Northern New Jersey


When working with clients who manage commercial properties across different regions of New Jersey, I often encounter the question of why milling and paving costs more in North Jersey compared to central or southern areas.

The answer lies in the expenses associated with disposing of the asphalt millings once the parking lot is milled. Specifications for a project typically involve milling off a certain depth of asphalt from the existing parking lot.

In some cases, properties in North Jersey that have undergone multiple overlay paving projects may opt to mill off more asphalt to achieve a desired curb reveal.

For example, if a 2-inch paving project requires 500 tons of asphalt, but 4 inches of existing asphalt is being milled off, this will result in generating 1000 tons of asphalt millings that have to be disposed of.





What Happens to Asphalt Millings After a Parking Lot is Milled in Northern New Jersey?


Asphalt millings are transported to the asphalt plant after removal from the parking lot or road that is set to be paved most times to the asphalt plant the new hot mix is being purchased from. In some circumstances, they may be brought to a contractor yard for stockpile for processing or to another location, but 95% of the time in North Jersey asphalt millings are transported to the asphalt plant where the contractor will purchase the new hot mix asphalt from. There's a cost advantage to this as there are several Class B recycling facilities in North Jersey that accept incoming asphalt but the cost is more expensive than disposing of them at the asphalt plant where you're purchasing the hot mix asphalt from.

Contractors near the New York or Pennsylvania border may opt to transport the asphalt millings out of state, as they are highly sought-after commodities in regions where they are utilized for a myriad of projects, from fill material to the construction of light-duty roads.

Due to the cost of trucking and tolls, this is only financially feasible if the project is close enough to the border to outweigh the high dumping cost at the asphalt plant.




Impact Of Disposal Of Millings And Broken Asphalt On Paving Project Costs In Northern New Jersey



The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection imposes restrictions on the height of broken asphalt or millings piles stored at asphalt plants or class B recycling facilities. As a result, these facilities must carefully monitor the influx of millings and broken asphalt being deposited on their premises. Most asphalt plants in Northern New Jersey have regulations in place that prohibit dumping broken asphalt or millings unless new hot mix asphalt is also being obtained. This ensures that the plants can handle incoming materials to serve their hot mix clients effectively, and prevents them from being used solely as a class B recycling facility to undercut competitors on dumping costs.

As the piles of millings and broken asphalt at asphalt plants near capacity, paving contractors face increased pressure in terms of the cost of disposing of materials at these locations. This dilemma places asphalt paving contractors in a challenging position, as asphalt plants offer the most cost-effective option for disposing of broken asphalt and millings. If a contractor were to take these materials to a class B recycling facility without an asphalt plant, they could anticipate paying significantly higher costs – up to 50 to 75% more per ton or load for dumping compared to the rates at an asphalt plant.

Unless the contractor's paving job is closer to central New Jersey or the Pennsylvania or New York border the contractor has no availability to legally dispose of the materials in a more cost-effective location.  Traffic congestion and trucking times to drive to other locations also increase the cost and may not yield any savings.  


What Options Exist for Property Owners and Managers?


Below, we will explore three cost savings alternatives for your North Jersey asphalt milling and paving project


DOES YOUR PARKING LOT REQUIRE ASPHALT MILLING?  Depending on the condition of the existing asphalt, the slopes, drainage, if curbing exists and curb reveal, your asphalt parking lot may be able to be resurfaced versus being milled and paved. This will create immediate cost savings for the property owner/manager.  Resurfacing is where the limits of the project are profile-milled to allow a smooth transition.

What if my parking lot has cracks- doesn't it require milling?  


An experienced New Jersey Asphalt Paving Professional will conduct a thorough inspection of your North Jersey asphalt parking lot to determine the feasibility of using geotextile paving fabrics like the innovative Petro-Mat.

These advanced materials are designed to combat reflective cracking, offering the potential to reduce or even eliminate the need for milling your parking lot altogether.








PARTIAL DEPTH MILLING: Your Asphalt parking lot depending on your curb reveal and the condition of the existing asphalt surface layer may be able to be partially milled where a 2-inch asphalt paving project only would require 3/4 of an inch to 1 inch of milling and still be able to accept a 2-inch Asphalt will relay with acceptable curb reveals.

PROFILE MILLING: Profile milling is where the curb lines and limits of the paving project are milled and the remainder of the parking lot is not milled.  This approach takes a careful assessment of the asphalt to make sure the partial milling will not obstruct drainage.  This approach works well on very large and wide-open parking lots such as shopping centers, malls, trucking facilities and asphalt parking lots not bordered by curbing.   This approach is not ideal for parking lots with tons of landscape, islands, or parking lots that are smaller.


Why Does Asphalt "RAP" (ie: Millings & Broken Asphalt) Affect Asphalt Milling & Paving Costs In North Jersey?


As a result, the piles of millings and broken asphalt at asphalt plants in Northern New Jersey quickly grow in size, creating a surplus of inbound materials compared to outbound. This surplus presents a significant challenge for asphalt plants, as they must find ways to effectively manage and utilize these excess millings and broken asphalt. With hundreds to thousands of tons of inbound materials daily, the capacity of these facilities can quickly become overwhelmed, leading to increased pressure on paving contractors in terms of the cost of disposing of these materials. This imbalance highlights the ongoing issue of the "RAP Crisis" in New Jersey and the need for innovative solutions to address the surplus of recycled asphalt pavement in the asphalt paving industry.



Asphalt Plant Orders for the day: 3,000 tons of hot mix asphalt

Inbound millings / broken asphalt from those projects: 2,500 tons of old asphalt (Not all paving projects generate inbound materials)

Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP) added to new hot mix asphalt manufactured that day @ 15%= 450 tons

Deficit: 2,050 tons for the day.

Multiply this times 180 days to the paving season and you can see how the piles quickly grow in size. (369,000 tons for this example)

This is an example of only 1 asphalt plant.  There are over a dozen in North Jersey.


What Steps Are Being Taken To Solve The "RAP Crisis" In New Jersey:


Until this year, the New Jersey Department Of Transportation only allowed a small portion of recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) to be used inside the mix designs of hot mix asphalt for paving projects.

Please see this press release from the New Jersey Asphalt Pavement Association website regarding expanded RAP usage starting in 2024.

Press Release

Here is another presentation that discusses the RAP Crisis in New Jersey:





At, our dedication lies in assisting you with any inquiries related to asphalt, whether you are the owner of a single commercial property or manage a portfolio of 100 properties. Our goal is to offer impartial and clear guidance, covering topics that many asphalt paving contractors in New Jersey may overlook or lack expertise in. We strive to empower you to make well-informed decisions regarding the maintenance and improvement of your asphalt parking lots.



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