Recycled Roads

by Paul Tarricone, Assoc. Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1993, Vol. 63, Issue 4, Pg. 46-49

Document Type: Feature article


The movement to recycle wastes in highways appears to be gathering momentum nationwide. Rubber from old tires, wood chips, reclaimed asphalt pavement, fly ash, scrap plastic, mining wastes and sewage sludge are finding their way into asphalt and concrete pavements, fill materials, embankments, joint sealants, retaining walls, rest stop benches, even sound and crash barriers. Nearly every state Department of Transportation is experimenting with wastes in highway construction in some fashion, while a number of state environmental agencies have encouraged or offered incentives to their counterparts at DOT to reuse wastes. In addition, at least half the state legislatures in the U.S. have instructed their DOTs to investigate recycling opportunities in transportation projects. And the 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act, requiring the use of scrap rubber in asphalt, has focused the federal spotlight on the issue. Still, most states are conservative about waste recycling. Engineers are concerned about compromising engineering performance and cost. Additionally, transportation agencies don't want to help solve one environmental problem and create another by turning highways into linear landfills, opening themselves up to possible liability.

Subject Headings: Asphalt pavements | Vehicle-pavement interaction | Concrete pavements | Recycling | Highways and roads | Tire recycling | Rubber | Asphalt concrete

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