SPOTLIGHT - Road Commission of Kalamazoo County - 2018 Scrap Tire Market Development Grantee


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SPOTLIGHT - Road Commission of Kalamazoo County

2018 Scrap Tire Market Development Grantee


The Road Commission of Kalamazoo County (RCKC) was awarded a Department of Environmental, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) Scrap Tire Market Development Grant in partnership with Michigan Technological University (MTU) for scrap tire innovation. An estimated 13,672 scrap tires were recycled on the project, which took a significant amount of coordination with the partners due to its experimental nature.


The project includes the use of new rubber technology never before used in the United States. The project utilized hot rubber chip seal (HRCS) and hot rubber thin overlay (HRTO) on two different segments of W Avenue from the Schoolcraft Village Limits to Portage Road. There were also two conventional chip seal application segments installed as control sections. Each of the four project sections spanned 4,000 feet of West W Avenue.


“The purpose of the project is to evaluate the new reacted and activated rubber and to investigate the applicability of such rubber mainly composed of finely grinded scrap tires. The aim is to create a more cost-effective, long-lasting, safe and environmentally friendly, mixes and surface treatments,” Dr. You said.


Dr. You says preliminary results on a three-mile test section shows HRTO provided a smoother and quieter surface compared with traditional overlay.


Further, Dr. You said, “the bond strength between the chip seals and the old pavement will be evaluated under various temperature and freeze-thaw conditions. Samples from these field test projects will be tested in asphalt materials laboratories at MTU in order to better understand the road performance with these rubber materials.”


Per RCKC, the innovations came with some complications and learning opportunities. Use of the HRCS posed challenges for proper application of the material at the beginning of the project. This was the first time a reacted rubber HRCS product was used in the United States. Project partners were from Michigan, Arizona, and Portugal.


The project has received a 2018 Branch Award in Public Works Project of the Year Transportation – Innovative Projects in the category of Transportation Projects Less than $1 Million from the Michigan Chapter of American Public Works Association (APWA) and has been forwarded to the National APWA office for competition at that level.


For additional information about the project:

This project was made possible by a $221,964 grant from the EGLE Scrap Tire Program. The total project cost was $443,928 with MTU covering $85,000 and RCKC contributing $136,964.


The EGLE Scrap Tire Program supports projects that provide increased markets for the use of scrap tires. Market Development and Law Enforcement Grants for 2020 will soon be available. Market Development Grant applicants are strongly encouraged to consider how funding of their project will lead to increased markets for the use of scrap tires.


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