How Green Is My Blacktop

Illinois is Moving Ahead With a New Formula for Rubber-Tire Roadways.
by | July 2007

It Has Been Tried Before, Without Much Success. But Now Gtr--Ground Tire Rubber--Is Coming Back As The "Green" Substitute For Asphalt.

A New Gtr Mix Improves On The Rubberized Asphalt That States Were Using Under A Short-Lived Federal Mandate In The 1990s. That Gtr Formula Didn't Satisfy Road-Quality Standards And Cost As Much As 30 Percent More Than Asphalt.

The New Gtr Mix Process Is Only Slightly More Expensive Than Regular Asphalt And Should Improve Road Quality As Well. In Recent Road Tests In Illinois, The Mix Held Out The Promise Of Longer Road Life, Fewer Pavement Cracks, Reduced Road Noise, Better Traction, Easier Night Driving And Lower Maintenance Costs. Just As Important, The Program Will Save Lots Of Landfill Space As Tires Are Hauled Out Of Retirement.

A Task Force Composed Of The Illinois, Cook County And Chicago Transportation Departments And The Illinois Tollway Authority Helped The Rubber Meet The Road. Chicago Dot's Green Alleys Project, For Instance, Tested The New Formula And Found That The Porous Quality Of The Material Kept Water Runoff Out Of Sewers. The Tollway Authority, Which Used The Material On Three Patches Of The Highway This Past Winter, Found That The New Gtr Kept Its Roadway Dry And Also Reduced Road Noise, Which Should Help Cut Down On The Need To Erect Costly Sound Walls. This Summer, Cook County Will Start The Latest Road Construction Effort To Test This Means Of Re-Using Rubber Tires.

"This Is Not Just A Recycling Issue," Says Serji Amirkhanian, Director Of The Asphalt Rubber Technology Service At Clemson University. "This Is An Engineering Product That Really Enhances The Performance Of Your Pavement--Period."

Will Wilson | Former Correspondent |