rubberized asphaltDIXON, Ky. (10/24/17) — Webster County is about to become one of the first counties in Kentucky to participate in a program to improve road repaving while keeping used automobile tires out of landfills.

The Webster County Road Department this week will have portions of two roads resurfaced with rubber-modified asphalt made in part from old tires. Those roads include Sebree-Slaughters Road and Watkins-Sebree Road.

“It’s not only good for the environment, but it’s a better product” in terms of paving, according to Sondra Norman, the Webster County solid waste and recycling coordinator and enforcement officer.

Rubber-modified asphalt has been used successfully in states such as Florida, Texas, Arizona and California. Indications from those states is that compared with conventional asphalt, the material lasts longer, sheds water better, provides superior skid resistance, withstands a greater range of hot and cold temperatures and is less likely to crack, according to B.J. Bland, an environmental scientist and grant manager for the rubber-modified asphalt program at the Kentucky Division of Waste Management.

The downside is that the rubberized asphalt costs more. To encourage its use, the Division of Waste Management is in the second year of offering grants to counties to help pay for resurfacing sections of roads to see how it performs in this state. Webster County received a $99,000 state grant that was matched by $65,000 from Webster Fiscal Court.

The state funded rubber-modified asphalt pilot projects in five counties last year and five counties this year. The state funding this year totals $430,000, which is funded by the $1 disposal fee that is charged on the sale of each new tire sold in Kentucky, Bland said.

The Webster County pilot project will involve the application of 6,000 cubic yards of rubber-modified asphalt to each of the two roads, enough to repave about one-half mile of each road with 1.5 inches of the material. Another one-half mile of each road will be resurfaced with a similar amount of conventional asphalt. The two sections of each road will be inspected annually to see how the performance of rubber-modified asphalt compares with conventional asphalt.

One of the state’s criteria is that the projects take place on roads that are generally sound but needed resurfacing, Bland said.

“This will be our first paving project using this material,” according to Evan Elliott, vice president of operations for Road Builders LLC of Greenville, Kentucky, the paving contractor for the Webster County project.

Conventional asphalt is made from 95 percent rock and 5 percent oil, Elliott said. Rubber-modified asphalt is made by instead grinding up old tires and blending it with liquid. The material for the Webster County project was produced in Cincinnati.

Road Builders’ crew will heat the material to 330 degrees Farenheit — 30 degrees hotter than conventional asphalt — and apply and compress it quickly before it cools to less than 300 degrees, Elliott said.

Ultimately, this and other pilot projects will determine whether improved performance and reduced maintenance costs are realized and would justify the greater front-end expense. It could also help develop markets for rubber-modified asphalt using waste tires generated in Kentucky.

“We are very honored to have been selected to participate in the rubber modified asphalt grant program,” Webster County Judge/executive Steve Henry said. “What a great opportunity to not only provide much needed re-surfacing to some of our county roads but also to help protect our environment. This program helps keep illegally dumped tires off of the side of our county roads and out of the landfill.”

SurfKY News
Information provided by Chuck Stinnett, Kyndle VP


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