Pavement recycling saves time, money and natural resources
Each year, WisDOT incorporates over 1.5 million tons of recycled materials in projects
Conserving natural resources is in the spotlight on Earth Day (April 22), and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is doing its part by incorporating over 1.5 million tons of recycled materials into highway and bridge improvement projects each year. Along with preserving landfill space and cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions, WisDOT’s recycling efforts reduce the need for virgin materials and saved an estimated $14.3 million over the last state fiscal year.
“In Wisconsin, virtually all old pavements are recycled in some way,” said Steven Krebs, director of WisDOT’s Bureau of Technical Services. “Concrete is crushed and re-used as highway shoulder material or as base course under a roadway. Asphalt pavements can be reheated and re-used as part of new pavement. Also, steel from bridge and pavement demolition is recycled.”
WisDOT specifications also allow for certain waste materials to be used in pavement mixes including asphaltic shingles (a typical house shingle is about 25 percent asphalt), fly ash from power plants and foundry sand. “There’s a very good chance that the road you’re driving on today contains recycled or waste materials from yesterday,” Krebs said.
WisDOT’s MAPSS performance improvement program tracks progress on established goals in the areas of Mobility, Accountability, Preservation, Safety and Service including a specific measure on the amount of recycled materials used in transportation projects.