City test drives recycled asphalt

Sunday, October 21, 2007 | 4:11 p.m. CDT; updated 4:22 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — The city of Columbia is experimenting with a recycled asphalt mixture that could become more common on city roads.

For now, the asphalt is being tested — appropriately enough — at the city’s landfill operations center and material recovery facility off Route B at 5700 Peabody Road.

In partnership with transportation construction company APAC-Missouri, the city has installed a 1,500-foot road made from a mixture of traditional asphalt and glass and roofing shingles.

Mike Symmonds, landfill and recovery superintendent, said the city will monitor the road to see if it holds up under normal traffic conditions as well as a road paved with traditional asphalt.

The experimental mixture is composed of 9 percent recycled glass, 20 percent roofing shingles and 71 percent standard asphalt mix, according to a press release issued Thursday by the city.

APAC, which paves many roads in Missouri, donated the equipment and labor, which saved the city an estimated $45,000, Symmonds said. The city paid $82,950 for 2,100 tons of the recycled asphalt, he said.

Bruce Loesch, quality control manager at APAC-Missouri, said recycled asphalt currently costs about as much as traditional asphalt, although he said the price could possibly decrease as the use of recycled asphalt becomes more widespread.

Loesch said the use of recycled asphalt is gaining popularity because it reuses items that have typically taken up space in landfills, but it’s not a new concept. Using glass in asphalt has been around for almost 20 years, while the use of shingles is more recent, he said.

Loesch said he expects the recycled asphalt to hold up just as well as traditional asphalt.

“We see no indication that it will have any shorter life span than our traditional mix,” he said.

Other road projects in Columbia have used a recycled asphalt mixture, including Route VV on the city’s north side and the parking lot of the Missouri Department of Transportation maintenance facility at Route B and Highway 63, Loesch said. These were paved with a mixture of recycled asphalt pavement and roofing shingles, but they did not use glass, he said.

Although differences between the recycled mixture and the traditional mixture might not be visible at first glance, Loesch said people should look closely.

“With glass in there, one might see a little bit of a glitter,” he said.

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