The Arizona Department of Transportation's latest highway paving project uses recycled tires to put a fresh layer of rubberized asphalt on a stretch of Interstate 17 in Phoenix. Rubber from about 75,000 tires will be used in the 11 miles of I-17 between Dunlap and 19th avenues, according to ADOT.
The process begins at the Crumb Rubber Manufacturers plant in east Mesa, where a complex series of conveyor belts, blades and other equipment removes the internal metal belts from the tires while turning the rubber into granules that look like ground coffee.
The crumb rubber is blended with hot asphalt and aggregate to become rubberized asphalt. The mixing occurs at a Vulcan Materials Co. plant in Phoenix. Then, the heated rubberized asphalt is delivered in trucks to Banicki Construction who is handling the paving, when weekend paving on the freeway is underway.
ADOT has used rubberized asphalt on many stretches of the state’s highways, including metro Phoenix freeways, for decades.
“What we like most about rubberized asphalt is its durability,” said Dallas Hammit, ADOT’s state engineer and deputy director for transportation. “When our riding surface pavement lasts longer – in some areas for well over a decade – it is cost effective and limits traffic disruptions.”
Rubberized asphalt also has been recognized for reducing traffic noise, specifically the sound from vehicle tires, by approximately 4 decibels in neighborhoods near urban freeways.
Drivers should expect delays through July, according to ADOT's website. Crews will work on weekends and I-17 will be closed one direction at a time in approximately 3-mile segments. Drivers should expect heavy delays and use alternate routes, including State Route 51, Loop 101, the I-17 frontage road or 19th or 27th avenues.
For more information about ADOT’s $9.8 million I-17 Improvement Project between Dunlap and 19th avenues, visit azdot.gov/I17PavementPreservation.
Images courtesy of Sean Bulmann, Banicki Construction