Although winter takes a toll on many industries, one of the hardest hit is road-building and pavement repair. Government restrictions on using asphalt in low temperature situations leads to seasonal fluctuations in demand. As a result, most of the plants that produce hot mix asphalt shut down for some or all of the coldest months.
Without access to hot mix asphalt, most paving contractors and highway departments are left in the cold when it comes to pavement repairs. Needed repairs are put off until springtime or they’re forced to use cold-patch, an alternative to hot mix that does not last nearly as long and costs far more. But because more and more contractors are seeking year-round access to hot mix, mobile asphalt recycling plants (MARPs) are attracting a lot of attention.
Hot Mix Where and When You Want It
MARPs reduce or eliminate dependence on fixed location hot mix producers without compromising the advantages of hot mix. Set up at or near almost any job, MARPs can provide contractors and DOTs with a dedicated source of hot mix exactly where and when it's needed 365 days a year.
- Crews can fill potholes in the dead of winter with hot mix, when hot mix plants are closed.
- MARPs also have proved to be remarkably beneficial on airfields where nighttime repair is the standard and daytime runway closure is unthinkable.
- Towns such as Colonie, NY, which has a steady stream of water main breaks have turned to PavementGroup’s PT-PRO Series recycler to provide hot mix when the local plants were shut down.
The best-designed MARPs require only one person to load and operate, and every 20 minutes can deliver as much as five tons of hot mix ready for lay down. This newfound freedom allows faster responsiveness and offers greater efficiencies in laying or repairing paved surfaces. With a cost of only $20/ton, recycling RAP is proving to be highly lucrative for pavers and offers equally important cost reductions for municipal owners.
First introduced in the 1970s following the oil embargo, reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) has become one of the most recycled materials in the U.S. Unlike cold-patch materials which often rely on petroleum cutback to soften the material for application, RAP can be reheated to reclaim its inherent strength and stability, yielding both excellent performance and significantly lower price compared with virgin asphalt and cold patch materials. This has made it a staple product for the paving industry... when it's available.
“In the Four Corners area, the only two asphalt plants shut down from December to March,” says Phil McKinney, owner of Dirt Bandit Sweeping, a full-service asphalt maintenance and paving company in Farmington, NM. “I couldn't take on any jobs when they were closed. Now that I've got my own mini-plant we're the only paving company that can make asphalt during the winter. We use it for our own jobs, but we also sell RAP to municipalities that need it."
Sustainability - Waste In, Hot Mix Out
MARPs, such as PavementGroup’s PT-Pro Series Recyclers, provide immediate, on-site access to hot mix wherever RAP is available. Batch recyclers allow asphalt millings and chunks to be processed simultaneously, mixing and heating the material. Material torn up from streets, highways, runways, parking lots, driveways and other asphalt surfaces can go directly into the MARP for reheating. Small quantities of pelletized asphalt and/or rejuvenators can be added.
The resulting hot mix is ideal for pavement repair work such as patches, potholes, utility trenches, foot-paths and base course.
“With good stockpile management, RAP can be recycled into a good quality top course,” says Mark Reeves, PavementGroup president. “Our customers making top course are generally screening and crushing their RAP and generally use our additive to improve workability and performance.”