Wednesday, July 11, 2018

That's so hot! Surface recycling extends life of highways

Surface recycling is one of the ways KDOT can extend the life of a road.
By Deb Gruver,
South Central Kansas Public Affairs Manager

Have you ever seen a surface recycling operation in action? You may have but just didn’t know it. 

Surface recycling produces a layer of rejuvenated asphalt on the road surface.

Surface recycling produces a layer of rejuvenated, uncracked asphalt on the road surface. This technique is a process that is 100 percent recycled. It removes the existing crack pattern in the layer and evens out any bumps or depressions on the surface.

The road surface is heated up and melted.

With several moving pieces, it's an impressive sight. Resembling a train, an assembly of machinery heats up the existing asphalt on the road, scoops it up, mixes it with oil, spreads it back out on the roadway and then rolls it flat. Propane is used to heat the asphalt indirectly, though flames can be seen on the underbelly of that portion of the “train.”

The melted road surface is scooped up. 

Imagine working on asphalt in July in Kansas
— hot no matter what the project. Then imagine working aboard machinery that literally melts the roadway. 

The road surface is rolled out and spread flat. It is now a rejuvenated and crack-free surface. 
In these photos, subcontractor Bettis Asphalt works on the recycling phase of a $3,493,290 project on K-4 stretching from the Ness/Rush county line to the Rush/Barton county line. Nearly 37 miles will get this treatment, and then Venture Corporation of Great Bend, the primary contractor, will place an overlay on top of what's been recycled.

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