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Anderson tests new pavement-recycling process

August 29, 2012

Many sections of Raible Avenue in Anderson need a new coat of asphalt.

A quarter-mile section between Shady Lane and Van Buskirk Road is a good example. It's a cracked and rutted, teeth-chattering mess of a driving experience.

A new resurfacing process that's expected to be quicker, save the city money and more environmentally friendly will change all that.

Like every city around the state and the country, Anderson officials wanted to get the most for their road maintenance dollars.

In June, the city's Board of Public Works awarded a $338,155 contract to Gallagher Asphalt Corp., a suburban Chicago contractor that developed a "hot-in-place" method of pavement recycling, The Herald-Bulletin reported.

In a single pass, equipment that uses infrared technology heats and melts the asphalt, which is then broken up and removed, mixed with fresh oil and returned to the road surface. After that, it is smoothed and compacted with a roller. The process is called Re-HEAT, or Recycled Hot Emulsified Asphalt Treatment.

And Anderson is the first local government to use the new method in Indiana.

"The decision to implement the recycling process came about as city staff, recognizing the need to stretch roadway funding, researched innovative approaches to pavement preservation," Mayor Kevin Smith said in a news release.

In traditional "surface rehabilitation" the top two inches of asphalt are removed and replaced with an entirely new layer of material.

"Gallagher's asphalt recycling processes fit the needs of many of our roads and is an excellent way to get the absolute best value for every resurfacing dollar we spend," said City Engineer Mike Spyers.

On roads where Re-HEAT can't be used, Gallagher will use an older rehabilitation method called Heater Scarification, which has been used throughout the Midwest for more than 30 years.

The first paving priority this year was downtown, followed by roads leading to hospitals, schools, churches and then residential areas. Selections are made based on assessments by the Madison County Council of Governments and the city's own studies of high-use roads and those in bad shape.

In addition to the contract with Gallagher, the Board of Works approved a $121,447 contract with Pavement Solutions for surface treatment and paint, and an $11,988 contract with Shambaugh & Son for traffic signal pavement work.

All three contracts will be paid from the wheel tax fund — a $25 tax the Madison County Council rescinded earlier this year.

Spyers said the new process appears to be less expensive, but will be evaluated to determine how long lasting it will be.

"This may be the wave of the future," he said.

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