Georgia DOT Uses Recycled Tires in Asphalt

Roadway study will use an estimated 20,000 end-of-life tires.

October 4, 2011
CDR Staff

Lehigh Technologies has announced that the Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT) has laid rubber-modified asphalt (RMA), made from recycled tires, in Bibb County, Ga. The state is expanding on previous studies with RMA, testing the material's performance versus traditional asphalt materials in "real-world conditions."

Currently, according to Lehigh Technologies, Georgia permits rubber modification in certain asphalt pavement type and jobs. The test is being conducted in collaboration with several Georgia companies: Reeves Construction, a leader in the heavy highway and asphalt paving industry in Georgia; Liberty Tire Recycling, which does the primary processing of the end-of-life tires from Georgia; and Lehigh Technologies, which processes the product from Liberty into sustainable micronized rubber powder (MRP) that is added to the asphalt formulation to be applied by Reeves. The test is being overseen by the Georgia DOT and supported by the National Center for Asphalt Technology and will use about 20,000 end-of-life tires. The results from the trial, along with a major study underway at NCAT, will provide objective, controlled data on different asphalt rubber composites.

Rubber-modified asphalt is currently being used in a number of states' roads, including Arizona, Florida and Texas. According to Lehigh Technologies, including recycled rubber into asphalt yields numerous benefits, including longer lasting road surfaces, reduced road maintenance and lower road noise. Furthermore, using recycled rubber costs less than the non-renewable products it replaces and is considered a green material, using tires that would otherwise be discarded into a landfill.

"For 'green' projects, such as the use of RMA, to be broadly successful it requires close collaboration between multiple steps in the value chain," says Alan Barton, CEO of Lehigh Technologies. "We are very pleased to be working with these forward thinking leaders in industry and government-this is what it will take to make sustainable infrastructure a reality."

The Georgia DOT has been a vocal supporter of the increased use of RMA in Georgia. "We believe that rubber-modified asphalt can reduce project costs while maintaining quality roads, and at the same time provide a productive outlet for end-of-life tires," says Georgene Geary with the Georgia Department of Transportation. "It is good to see collaboration among Georgia industry partners to green-up Georgia roads and assist Georgia DOT in maintaining the quality of our roadways."

Georgia Representative Randy Nix is spearheading statewide efforts to help solve the problem of what to do with end-of-life tires, and has publicly supported the use of rubber-modified asphalt in Georgia roads as a productive solution. "It's critical that we move forward with this initiative, proving the value of the science behind these new road options. The benefits are three fold: environmental sustainability, cost savings for tax payers and jobs for Georgians. I am glad to see that Georgia is making progress towards incorporating this material in our roads," Nix says.

"NCAT is proud and excited to be a part of this project. It is our goal to help the industry develop asphalt mixtures, which are not only environmentally sustainable, but also durable under trafficking. This project is an opportunity for us to get a better understanding of how ground tire rubber truly influences asphalt mixture properties," says Richard Willis, NCAT’s assistant research professor.

Lehigh Technologies is a manufacturer that turns end-of-life tire materials and other post-industrial rubber into sustainable powders that are used in a wide range of industrial and consumer applications.