California Department of Transportation


Pulverization is an on-grade method of pavement rehabilitation that consists of pulverizing the existing asphalt concrete pavement and a portion of the underlying granular base to a maximum depth of 10 inches, grading and compacting the recycled mixture, and overlaying the recycled surface with a new layer of hot mix asphalt (HMA). Other materials including aggregate base, lime, Portland cement, kiln dust, or fly ash may be added prior to mixing as needed.




Pulverization is best suited for moderate to low volume roadways. During construction, vehicles must traverse an untreated surface, so pulverization requires 24-hour pilot car traffic control. Pulverization can treat most pavement distresses that are not caused by subgrade or drainage problems, but it is most cost effective on surfaces requiring digouts of 20% or more by paving area. The upper portion of the pavement structure is completely reworked, a form of pavement rehabilitation known as Full Depth Reclamation (FDR). Distresses and surface irregularities treatable using pulverization include:

  • Raveling
  • Corrugations
  • Slippage
  • Poor ride quality
  • Potholes
  • Bleeding
  • Shoving
  • Delamination
  • Rutting
  • Cracking



Pulverization should not be used on pavements with:

  • Geosynthetic Pavement Interlayer (GPI)
  • High traffic volumes
  • Treated bases
  • Numerous shallow utilities
  • Poor drainage
  • Surrounding urban areas (noise created by the pulverizer may be problematic)


New! Guide for Flexible Pavement Rehabilitation using Pulverization (January 2013), (PDF 1.7 MB)

Please forward any questions/comments/suggestions to Amy Fong ( Last updated 05/23/2014.