The Benefits of Recycled Asphalt

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Did you know in the early 1990’s, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Highway Administration reported to congress that asphalt pavement was America’s number one recycled product?

Who knew?

Bituminous Roadways, Inc. (BR) did. Well before this report, since the early 1970’s actually, BR has been incorporating recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) into newly produced asphalt mixtures. This sustainability practice has many economic, environmental and societal impacts.

When an asphalt parking lot or roadway is scheduled to be rehabilitated, the pavement material is removed in chunks or ground up onsite using a milling machine. The RAP chunks and millings are then taken to the asphalt plant, crushed, and mixed with virgin materials to produce new asphalt mixtures. The result is an asphalt mix containing recycled pavement material, used to build new parking lots, roads and pathways.

Why is this important, you may ask? There are many benefits to recycling asphalt. Here are just a few:

Saving Tax Payers Money: By recycling asphalt pavement, it saves the American taxpayers more than $2.5 billion per year.

Freeing Up Landfill Space: When recycling asphalt pavement, the old asphalt materials are NOT getting thrown in landfills. It’s estimated that this process saves thousands of acre-feet of landfill space per year.

Conserving Natural Resources: During the recycling process, the original rocks, sand, and gravel from the recycled asphalt are also retained. Therefore, when producing new asphalt mix with recycled pavement materials, plants mine less aggregate material conserving natural resources.

Reducing Transportation Needs: Because there is less of a need to mine materials, there are less trucks on the road. Less trucks on the roads means a reduced opportunity for accidents, as well as a decreased need for fuel.

The need to be an environmental steward is critical, now more than ever. BR will continue to utilize the asphalt recycling process while reviewing other recycling strategies into the future.

Bituminous Roadways, Inc. (BR) strives to be the company of choice for asphalt pavement projects throughout the Twin Cities Metro area. For more than 70 years, BR has been an industry leader providing customers the best outcome for their pavement project needs. We are dedicated to quality, safety, continual improvement, environmental stewardship, innovation and most importantly, customer service.

 

 

Asphalt for Recycling and Energy Reduction. (n.d.) Retrieved April 19, 2017 from http://www.asphaltpavement.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=201&Itemid=495

Stay Safe this Construction Season

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Minnesota has five seasons each year; winter, spring, summer and fall. The additional season has become affectionately known as “Road Construction.” As a matter of fact, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) announced this week that 211 road construction projects are on the docket this season.

From late April/ early May until Thanksgiving usually, Minnesota roads are dotted with construction signs, vehicles and workers. Add to this, the activities of asphalt paving, pot-hole repair, cracksealing and parking lot maintenance, create many more obstacles drivers must negotiate and hazards to avoid. The irony of this is that the busiest times of the year in terms of road traffic falls during the road construction season. This is not new information nor is it recently uncovered data, but PEOPLE are still dying on Minnesota roads and highways each year.

Current trends indicate less people are getting hurt and killed each year, which is a good thing. However, good is not good enough when it comes to fatalities and zero should be the only acceptable goal. Here are a few recommendations to consider as motorists to reduce injuries and fatalities on our roadways.

  • Put down the phone-No email, phone call or text message is worth your life or anyone else’s, unless you’re calling 911. You might have even seen the large highway signs displaying this message: “Orange Cones? No Phones.”
  • Slow down-Do not be in a hurry and follow posted speed limits. Leave a few minutes early, expect delays and impress your friends and co-workers with your timeliness. Remember, fines double in work zones!
  • Do not live in a bubble-You are not the only person on the road and how you drive will affect how others will drive. Driving too aggressively or setting your own personal speed limit in the far left lane will likely result in some type of negative reaction from other drivers.
  • Get ready at home-Rush hour is not the time to be performing grooming and hygiene activities. There are not any studies that prove being involved in a crash will improve your hairstyle.
  • Respect construction zones-Slow down, back off and pay attention. If something bad is going to happen, this is where it most likely will. Put both hands on the wheel and expect the unexpected, like stopping traffic, flaggers, construction vehicles leaving or entering and debris on the roadway.

Laws and enforcement are not the only things making our roadways less fatal. To bring our family, friends and neighbors home each day takes commitment to better driving practices by all of us.

For a complete listing of MnDOT projects, visit www.mndot.gov/roadwork/current or check www.511mn.org for up to date information on traffic and road conditions.

Bituminous Roadways, Inc. has been in the asphalt paving business for more than 70 years. Our crews are out there grading, milling, and paving parking lots, roadways, pathways and recreational surfaces. Our company takes safety seriously, and we hope you will consider these recommendations to create a safer construction season for all of us.

What do spring load restrictions have to do with asphalt?

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What are Spring Load Restrictions?

Since 1937, Minnesota has enforced spring load restrictions each year as temperatures begin to rise. These spring load restrictions are determined for each state, county and city road, and they restrict the weight of a single axle to less than 5-10 tons. This restriction will not affect any commuter vehicles, but it does have a big impact on commercial vehicles. Freight vehicles, dump trucks, and large construction equipment will be severely limited by the number of roadways that they are allowed to drive on.

Why Spring Load Restrictions?
During winter, water beneath the pavement freezes from the top down. The frozen ground will actually strengthen the soils supporting the pavement, allowing winter load increases! Similarly, during spring, the frozen soils thaw from the top down. This creates a problem because the thawed water is trapped beneath the pavement by the layers of still frozen soil. This trapped water will saturate and weaken the soils that are supporting the pavement above. Due to the weaker support, the overall strength of the pavement structure is compromised. Therefore, by restricting heavy vehicles from using certain roads, the state, county and city DOT’s can prevent these roads from failing early. The Minnesota state DOT (MnDOT) has estimated over $10,000,000 in savings each year, due to the implementation of the spring load restriction program.

How do Spring Load Restrictions affect my parking lot?
The spring load restrictions do not apply to utility vehicles, school busses, and recycling or garbage vehicles (also vehicles transporting milk, but that likely doesn’t affect you). This means that these vehicles can legally be overweight during the spring thaw. MnDOT estimates that vehicle loads cause five times more damage during the spring thaw than during the summer months, meaning these overweight vehicles can severely damage your parking lot in a relatively short amount of time.

What can I do to protect my parking lot?
Preventative maintenance is a good start to protecting your pavement.  Sealing cracks, and filling potholes will prevent some water from infiltrating below your pavement.  Also, consider the routes taken by garbage vehicles or school busses. Have a discussion with your garbage collector or bus drivers and designate a specific route for them to take through your parking lot. If you are reconstructing your pavement, consider making these designated routes “Heavy Duty” sections.  “Heavy Duty” sections will be a thicker (stronger) pavement section that is more likely to resist these heavy loads and last longer.

With more than 70 years experience in the Twin Cities metro area, Bituminous Roadways is the expert in everything asphalt; Call 651-686-7001 for a free estimate or pavement consultation.

Information Source: http://dotapp7.dot.state.mn.us/research/seasonal_load_limits/thawindex/tfs_slr.asp
MnDOT Seasonal Load Limits:
http://dotapp7.dot.state.mn.us/research/seasonal_load_limits/sllindex.asp

BR Celebrates Youth Art Month!

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In 1961, The Art & Creative Materials Institute, Inc. created Youth Art Month with the goal of recognizing art education as a viable factor in education curriculum, as stated on arteducators.org. Since then, the month of March has been designated as an annual observation to emphasize the value of art and art education.

To honor Youth Art Month, Bituminous Roadways, Inc. would like to say thank you to all our employee’s children who contributed to the BR 2017 calendar. Each year, our company asks children (or grandchildren) of our employees to color a picture of what they believe Bituminous Roadways does. Over the years, we have received drawings from children as young as three or teenagers about to graduate.

We appreciate their time and effort to provide us with the calendar drawings. This publication is mailed to all Bituminous Roadways customers and employees, a list with nearly 2,500 names! You can request a calendar by emailing heidis@bitroads.com.

The drawings typically incorporate BR core competencies, such as asphalt paving, patching, excavating, and grading, showing pictures of dump trucks, pavers, rollers, and backhoes. In addition, the kids include parking lots, pathways, roadways, running tracks and safety signage into their drawings.

Thank you to all the BR kids who contributed artwork this year!
Dylan P.
Chloe P.
Emerson C.
Morgan D.
Abigail D.
Ellie D.
Ashlyn S.
Sophie A.
Ellie J.
Carter B.
Garrett B.
Sawyer W.
Sienna W.
Tyler S.

If your child likes to color, download the BR coloring sheet here. Once finished, scan and send it back to heidis@bitroads.com for a chance to have the drawing posted on our Facebook page! Be sure to include the child’s first name and age.

BR Coloring Sheet

BR Coloring Sheet

 

 

How Does Weather Effect Asphalt Pavement?

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With air temperatures last week in Minneapolis and Saint Paul reaching 40°F in January, and now a cold front sweeping in, we thought it would be appropriate to highlight some of the seasonal weather effects on asphalt pavements.

WINTER
In winter, the biggest threat to asphalt pavements is the temperature. Minnesota winters can see minimum temperatures of -30°F or lower. Extreme low temperatures can cause asphalt to contract and shrink, and this contraction and shrinkage creates tension within the asphalt, meaning the asphalt is trying to pull away from itself. If this tension within the asphalt becomes too strong, cracks will develop in the pavement to relieve some of the tension. Rapidly decreasing temperatures cause the asphalt to contract quicker and build tension faster, leading to an increased chance of cracking.

Freezing temperatures also cause water that is trapped beneath the pavement to freeze. As the water freezes it expands and causes the ground to heave. This is commonly called frost heave and can occur below your pavement if it lacks proper maintenance and/or drainage.

SPRING
In the spring (and sometimes in January), the winter snow and ice begins to melt. As the ice below the pavement (frost heave) melts, it saturates the soils beneath pavement. Also, the spring brings additional rain, which can puddle in deformed areas due to frost heave, and infiltrate cracks and seep beneath the pavement. Water is the biggest threat to asphalt pavements in the spring because it causes asphalt to deteriorate (very slowly). The longer asphalt is in contact with water, the more deterioration is likely to occur. This includes water puddling on top of asphalt, water flowing across asphalt pavements, water moving into the cracks of asphalt pavements, and water beneath asphalt pavements. This is why asphalt roads and parking lots are sloped to allow for quick drainage of the water. Protect your asphalt pavements by crack sealing as soon as cracks appear and patching potholes or severely cracked areas to prevent water infiltration.

SUMMER
During the summer, less rain and more sunshine means asphalt pavements are slowly deteriorated by oxidation. Oxidation is caused by exposure to UV radiation (sunlight) and it is the process of light oils in asphalt combining to form heavier oils (see our Chemistry Week blog post). Additional heavy oils make the asphalt more brittle and more likely to crack and/or ravel.

FALL
Lastly, fall brings an increase in rainfall, and water becomes the biggest threat again (as in spring). Fall is also one of the busiest times of year for pavement construction, and rain is the biggest threat to delaying project completion.

For more than 70 years, BR has been striving to provide the highest quality asphalt pavements to our Minneapolis-St. Paul customers. We work towards this goal by continually increasing our knowledgeable about every aspect of asphalt pavements, especially how the changing seasons will affect them. For more information about Bituminous Roadways, asphalt maintenance, asphalt paving, asphalt materials, or to get an estimate, please contact Bituminous Roadways at (651) 686-7001 or visit www.bitroads.com.

In the Spirit of Giving

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During the holiday season, many people make lists of gifts they need to buy. These gifts will go under the Christmas tree or be sent to a relative. For Kent Peterson, owner of Bituminous Roadways, Inc. (BR), making his holiday gift list consists not of people, but of organizations deserving of donations or sponsorships that help people in the local Twin Cities metro area and around the world.

Reflecting on the 2016 Asphalt Season

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After reflecting on 2016, there is one word to describe it – challenging. This season proved to be one of the more difficult for scheduling asphalt paving, asphalt maintenance, concrete work, milling and grading. However, even though it was challenging, Bituminous Roadways pushed forward to produce quality work in a timely fashion for our customers.

Honoring Veterans Day and Military Family Appreciation Month

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time since September 2001 was at 5.8 percent. The jobless rate for all veterans was at 4.6 percent. In 2015, there were 21.2 million men and women veterans. That 4.6 percent of jobless veterans equates to about 975,200 people. [1]

National Chemistry Week!

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The American Chemistry Society (ACS) has designated this week (Oct. 16-22) to be National Chemistry Week. All across the United State, “local ACS sections, businesses, schools, and individuals are invited to organize or participate in events in their communities with a common goal: to promote the value of chemistry in everyday life.” Bituminous Roadways, Inc. is contributing to this common goal by providing some simplified insight into the chemistry of asphalt.

4 Tips for Winterizing Your Parking Lot

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We are fast approaching the winter season – with leaves falling and the temperatures dropping, the time for getting your last minute parking lot repairs completed is NOW! Potholes and cracks are serious business, particularly once the snow and ice take over. Winterizing your parking lot is crucial for protecting your pavement while ensuring a safe and easy to maintain surface throughout the winter months.

Bituminous Roadways, Inc.
(651) 686-7001
1520 Commerce Drive
Mendota Heights, MN 55120

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  • The Benefits of Recycled Asphalt

    Did you know in the early 1990’s, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Highway Administration reported to congress that asphalt pavement was America’s number one recycled product? Who knew? Bituminous Roadways, Inc. (BR) did. Well before this report, since the early 1970’s actually, BR has been incorporating recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) ...