Arrow Road Construction Company was founded in 1925 and is headquartered in Mt. Prospect, IL. Its affiliate company, Healy Asphalt Co. LLC, manufactures high-quality, competitively priced products for both its own public and private construction projects. Arrow Road Construction specializes in all aspects of commercial paving, including both large and small jobs.
Recently, Arrow Road was tapped by the City of Chicago to help with its $1 million Magnificent Mile project. This section of roadway, which covers North Michigan Avenue from the Chicago River to Oak Street, is home to high-end shopping and historic buildings, including the Chicago Water Tower.
In addition to being one of the most famous shopping stretches in the world, Chicago was getting ready to host the NATO 2012 Summit and wanted to give this section of roadway a facelift.
The section of road was not in very good condition, and with budget and time limitations, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) needed to find a solution. Working with engineering and materials testing firm S.T.A.T.E. Testing LLC, CDOT developed an alternative mix to the typical dense-graded Superpave mix that it would traditionally use for a resurfacing project.
The Magnificent Mile mix
The environmentally friendly pavement created for the project combined recycled asphalt shingles (RAS), reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) and ground tire rubber (GTR) in a stone matrix asphalt (SMA).
SMA pavements are designed to stand up to heavy truck traffic and to resist rutting because of the aggregate structure of the mixture.
The 12-block area that was being resurfaced has several bus routes, so SMA was a good choice for the heavy traffic load.
“One of the reasons an SMA was chosen was the accelerated time frame of the project,” explains John Healy, president of Arrow Road Construction. “This section of road has a lot of pedestrian, cab and car traffic, but it also has a lot of bus routes. Typically, we would put in 10-inch concrete bus pads, but CDOT wanted to find an effective cost alternative due to the time constraints. The 2-inch SMA would provide the same stability and longevity as the concrete bus pad.”
Mt. Prospect facility
The Arrow Mt. Prospect asphalt production facility sits on a total of 11 acres northwest of O’Hare International Airport. While Arrow operates three asphalt plants in total, the Mt. Prospect facility was chosen to produce the Magnificent Mile mix because geographically it was the closest asphalt production facility to the project.
The Arrow Mt. Prospect facility has a 500-tph Gencor counterflow drum mixer, six 300-ton silos, seven cold feed bins, two RAP and one RAS bin, and it produces about 450,000 tons of mix per year. The plant is capable of producing warm mix as well. About 90% of its mix is produced for the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Illinois Tollway and other municipalities and 10% is used for private work.
One feature of the Mt. Prospect facility that was attractive for this project was its two dust silos with multiple size vane feeders which correctly portion the right amount of mineral filler into the mix.
“SMA requires a fair amount of mineral filler,” says Healy. “We had worked on an SMA project on the Eisenhower (I-290), and installed a secondary dust silo. That came in handy for this project.”
Test strips & quality control
Several test strips featuring the SMA mix were placed at the Arrow Mt. Prospect facility. Because of the tight time restrictions of the project, Healy says this was the best way to ensure the mix was performing to spec before being placed on Michigan Ave.
“The mix was produced, placed and tested at the plant,” he says. “One time, we would have high air voids, the next low air voids. We learned we had to produce the mix at higher temperatures because it was so stiff. Because of the amount of coarse aggregate, we had to make it stiffer so it wouldn’t segregate.”