Evaluation of Keyhole Technology to Reuse Materials and Reduce Spoil in Pavement Cuts

Focus Area

Construction and Maintenance Practices


Environmental Process, Natural Resources




Under $99k


Under 1 year

Research Idea Scope

One of the procedures used to reduce the disposal of asphalt and concrete pavement is to perform small pavement cuts and utilize the excavated pavement sections during the restoration process. Keyhole technology is the process of excavating a small, precisely controlled hole to access and identify the location of buried utilities. As part of this process, contractors use vacuum excavation and the same soil is reused to backfill the keyhole. The asphalt and concrete sections are placed back with grout to insure the proper bond with the adjacent pavement. Research Objective: To identify, assess, and monetize the environmental benefits of the keyhole coring and reinstatement process and to develop best practices in order to promote better environmental stewardship in the area of utility cuts and pavement restoration.

Urgency and Payoff

This project will identify and quantify the benefits of keyhole coring and reinstatement as an environmentally friendly construction and maintenance practice. It will develop a set of best practices to communicate the practice and procedures to  excavators of the roadway.

The anticipated benefits of this technology is:

  • Reuse of the original pavement material to restore the utility cut. Generate less (if any) debris.
  • Reduce/eliminate temporary restoration.
  • Reduce carbon footprint and hydrocarbon emissions by reducing placment of new asphalt sections.
  • Reduce traffic-flow interruptions.
  • Improve the quality of the utility cut restoration.
  • Reduce noise levels and dust emissions during excavation.
  • Enhance worker and public safety.

Suggested By

Khalid Farrag, Gas Technology Institute, Telephone: 847-768-0803.

[email protected]