Gallagher Asphalt has always taken a leadership role over its 75-year history of serving the Greater Chicago Southland marketplace. Diversifying its product and service offering should come as no surprise to those who know this Thorton, IL-based road builder. For the past three years, Gallagher has taken another pioneering step as it promotes the efficient, cost-effective and environmental benefits of Hot-in-Place recycling.
The asphalt producer and paving contractor has demonstrated to many surrounding road agencies how its Hot-in-Place method can extend their resurfacing budgets by as much as 30 percent. With limited tax dollars, many communities are working with tight budgets to maintain roads.
In many cases, total reconstruction of a roadway is unnecessary. If the road is structurally sound, with a stable base, Hot-in-Place recycling provides a preventive maintenance approach that extends the life of the road and dramatically reduces its long-term costs. The benefits of this recycling method go beyond the initial lower construction costs, and include:
- Preserving elevations and minimizing overhead clearance concerns
- Remixing and recoating uncoated aggregate
- Filling ruts and holes
- Leveling shoves and bumps
- Re-establishing surface crown and drainage
- Restoring surface flexibility by chemically rejuvenating aged asphalt
- Enhancing safety by improving ride and skid resistance
- Reducing engineering costs
- Reducing traffic control costs
- Putting roads back in service in a matter of hours after resurfacing
Hot-in-Place recycling involves a heater scarification rehabilitation process that restores cracked, brittle and irregular pavement in preparation for a final thin wearing course. Gallagher uses two "heater" machines operating in tandem to insure deep heating and softening of the aged pavement. After the pavement has been heated to approximately 325 degrees F, a rejuvenating asphalt emulsion is applied (approximately one-tenth of a gallon per square yard of material) to the surface just before multiple rows of spring-loaded scarifiers penetrate the softened asphalt to the desired depth. Augers at the back of the machine remix the material, which is then leveled and compacted with a standard paving screed. A roller is used to complete the compaction process of what will become an intermediate course ready for an overlay of fresh hot mix asphalt, or in some cases a seal coat is applied.
A tradition of innovation
Gallagher's current Hot-in-Place recycling efforts mark yet another innovative chapter in the company's long history. James F. Gallagher Sr. founded the company without any asphalt experience, any business experience for that matter, and securing a second mortgage on his home to obtain the necessary funding to start a business. He was instrumental in founding many of the present associations serving the industry, including the Illinois Asphalt Pavement Association, the Associated General Contractors of Illinois and the National Asphalt Pavement Association. His innovative spirit also produced several asphalt-related U.S. patents that bear his name.
Gallagher's sons, Jack, Jim and Don, continued to build the business through the '50s, '60s and '70s as the south suburbs of Chicago experienced a tremendous growth spurt. The second generation of Gallaghers played a pivotal role in establishing the company as a well-respected paving contractor.
Now under the management control of the third generation of Gallaghers, Jack's sons Charlie and David, and Don's sons Dan and Patrick, the company operates plants in Thorton, Joliet and Kankakee. Over the years, the Gallaghers have paved literally hundreds of thousand of miles of asphalt throughout the Greater Chicago Southland, including The Dan Ryan Expressway, Lake Shore Drive, The Borman Expressway, Lincoln Mall, River Oaks Mall, Orland Square Mall, The Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Dragstrip in Joliet.