When Brooks Construction celebrated the grand opening of its new Fort Wayne, Ind., plant, it also introduced HyRAP, the industry's first 100% recycled asphalt paving material.
A family-owned and -operated business, Brooks Construction has a history of pursing innovation. It was founded over 100 years ago by John Foster Brooks and Lester Edward Ginn. In addition to several asphalt production facilities in the Fort Wayne area, it also offers infrastructure construction services to private, commercial and governmental customers. Over the last 20 years, Brooks Construction has won numerous awards on the state and national levels for quality highway construction and specialized commercial work.
With its strong emphasis on quality, Brooks Construction was actively involved with the testing and construction of one of the first SUPERPAVE highways in Indiana. Additionally, it created the first private AASHTO Accredited Laboratory in Indiana in order to ensure the highest quality pavement for its customers.
Big leap forward
With its history of wanting to lead the pack, it's no surprise Brooks Construction unveiled HyRAP. "We didn't want to take a small step," says co-owner John Brooks. "We wanted to take a big leap forward."
During HyRAP production, a rejuvenating agent restores resident asphalt bitumen to performance grade material, often exceeding the original value and specifications. "Advanced quality control and new technological applications allow HyRAP to meet or exceed current hot mix asphalt performance standards," says John Barry with Crowley Chemical Co., a supplier that worked with Brooks in developing HyRAP.
According to both Brooks and Barry, there are several benefits to the 100% recycled asphalt material. First, environmentally, the product makes sense as a sustainable pavement. Second, customers and taxpayers achieve a cost savings. “There is no need for taxpayers to bear the continually rising cost of road construction when these assets are in place to recycle and reuse and have already been paid for once," Brooks explains. "We can begin mining our own roads."
Additional benefits include:
- HyRAP can be produced without any additional mining of aggregates and without need for virgin bitumen. Both petroleum consumption and reliance on foreign oil are reduced. "We're taking an investment already made and making it new again," says Brooks.
- Future HyRAP facilities can be located close to jobsites because there is no need to be near virgin aggregate sources or quarries. This significantly reduces the costs and diesel emissions associated with trucking.
- Reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) is not affected by time and reuse. The properties of original virgin materials can be restored completely and reused indefinitely. As the costs of virgin materials rise, there is additional motivation to fully recycle existing materials.
For now, HyRAP can be used on parking lot and street projects. Brooks says more performance data will be needed before the product can be used on highways. (See box, "HyRAP Projects.")
"There's a tremendous interest in HyRAP," says Brooks. "One of the hurdles we have with using the product on highways is getting the performance data and getting people to believe that data."
RAP management is the greatest challenge with this product, says Brooks. "We're making a recipe within exacting tolerances," he explains. "To do this precisely, we have to control the fractionation of the stone. We'll bring millings in and screen on-site to control this."
Brooks says a product like HyRAP will never replace all the mix designs out there, but it is an alternative. "People like to have alternatives," he says.
First plant of its kind
Brooks stresses the uniqueness of the new Brooks Construction facility and that the new venture was funded entirely by private dollars, without grants or government funding. “This plant is the first of its kind in the United States, and the only one with proven capabilities to produce consistent quality at high rates of recycle usage, using up to and including 99+% recycled materials,” he said.