Many factors impact on the sustainability of road maintenance, including the organization of road authorities, contract forms used, financing structure and, unfortunately, political interference and corruption. However, this paper reviews the opportunities to increase sustainability by utilizing less environmentally damaging material sources, and also the associated challenges. It is a field that has seen advances in recent decades, for example in the effectiveness of cold-mix asphalt binders. Nevertheless, the opportunities are not being taken up in many countries, and this reflects uncertainty in predicting performance. This paper reviews the different design methods available, developed in both temperate and tropical climates, and highlights the lack of agreement with regard to non-conventional materials. The different sources of uncertainty and risk are then discussed, together with ways of limiting them. It is found that, while advances in performance prediction are highly desirable, the key to encouraging recycling and the use of inexpensive but non-conventional materials lies in development of the right contractual arrangements, specifically partnering and risk/reward sharing. The paper concludes with a discussion on approaches to partnering in the construction industry and the prerequisite climate of trust without which innovation is almost inevitably stifled.
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