Friday, February 14, 2014

Grant allows Michigan counties to turn discarded tires into durable, low-maintenance roadways

A Michigan county has a combined solution to the problems of discarded car tires and highway potholes. Using a $327,513 grant from the state Department of Environmental Quality, officials in Muskegon County will use 6,800 tires in rubber-modified asphalt to repave 3.1 miles of road, Ashley Weigel reports for Great Lakes Echo, a service of the Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State University. (M&J Asphalt Paving in Cicero, Ill., is one business that combines tire rubber and asphalt cement to create the sealcoat seen here)

The hope is that it will create a stronger, more durable road and reduce maintenance costs, said county engineer Paul Bouman. He told Weigel they are “getting our feet wet in this technology, trying to help get the technology out there for the industry. We would anticipate, if this goes well, we’ll try to expand what we’ve learned here and go forward."

Other areas have received similar grants, and have upgraded their roads with the rubber-modified asphalt, Weigel reports. "The rubber in the new asphalt adds elasticity to the roads, which makes them more flexible during the freeze and thaw cycles, said Michael Marshall, Scrap Tire Program coordinator for the DEQ. The elasticity prevents cracks that can allow water to seep in and ruin the road." (Read more)

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