By now, many people have heard of the “three R’s” related to environmental sustainability – reduce, reuse and recycle. As the City of Wheaton continually seeks ways to improve operations and decrease Wheaton’s carbon footprint, the City is completing its first use of a method to resurface streets that hits on all three R’s.
This year, the City started using “hot in-place recycling” to resurface some Wheaton roads. Traditional resurfacing involves grinding down the top layers of pavement, hauling the ground-down pavement away, and replacing it with several layers of new pavement. Instead, hot in-place recycling uses machinery to blast the existing pavement with heat, inject an additive to help make it pliable, break up the surface, smooth it and add a top surface layer. This process greatly reduces the amount of new materials needed by recycling and reusing the existing surface. It reduces emissions by not needing to haul away old materials, and it is also more cost-effective than resurfacing.
Crews are using hot in-place recycling in five areas this year, including West Liberty Drive; Fapp Circle; East and West Loop Roads; and Danada Drive.
“It’s rare that we find a better way to operate that incorporates so many of the City’s strategic priorities: we’re making our roads safer, and we are improving Wheaton’s infrastructure in a more efficient way that costs less than traditional resurfacing and is more environmentally sustainable,” said Senior Project Engineer Sarang Lagvankar.
Hot in-place recycling can only be used in areas where the base roadway layers are in good shape, so this type of work will not be appropriate for all road work going forward. The City will continue to identify where it can be used in future years to improve roadways throughout the community.