Georgia state Rep. Randy Nix (69th District) says the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has amended the state's road construction specifications to include recycled tire rubber as an alternative to conventional oil-based polymers for road asphalt production. Recycled tire rubber will be in widespread use as early as the 2012 paving season. Rubberized asphalt roads save money by reducing dependence on oil and will help Georgians reduce waste by recycling millions of scrap tires annually.
"Tires are manufactured in large quantities and with great durability. By reclaiming tire rubber for asphalt roads, we can repurpose that durability and provide a beneficial outlet for this problematic waste material," says Rep. Nix, vice chairman of the Natural Resources and Environment Committee. "And by sourcing tire rubber from within the state, Georgia will not only experience environmental benefits but create jobs. Oil-based polymers are brought here from other states and countries. Recycled rubber is sourced internally, so all dollars stay right here in Georgia."
The initiative to change Georgia's specs to include recycled tire rubber was the result of a promise Rep. Nix made to the Georgia House of Representatives last year. When Rep. Nix asked the House to approve legislation to renew the $1 used tire fee that supports the Solid Waste Trust Fund, he promised to find a solution for the scrap tire problem.
After consulting with the House and Senate Transportation Committees and GDOT, Nix sought the expertise of Liberty Tire Recycling, Lehigh Technologies, and Blacklidge Emulsions. With new test data from the national organizations, GDOT accelerated its approval of the process and will have recycled tire rubber specs available for asphalt road jobs bid in April 2012.
"I wish to thank GDOT Commissioner Keith Golden, Chairman Jay Roberts of the House Transportation Committee, and a special thanks to Chairman Jeff Mullis of the Senate Transportation Committee, for helping me deliver on my promise," Rep. Nix says. "In addition to addressing the scrap tire problem, Georgia will derive many benefits through this cooperative effort for years to come."
High-performance rubberized asphalt saves money by requiring less pavement thickness to withstand the same amount of traffic as conventional asphalt, as well as by replacing higher-cost oil-based polymers. Rubberized asphalt also requires less maintenance over the life of the road. To enhance safety, rubberized asphalt allows water to drain away from the roadway, thereby reducing splash and spray. Rubberized asphalt also reduces the level of road noise for nearby residents by as much as 4 decibels.
"Liberty Tire Recycling and our partners are excited to work with GDOT to create longer-lasting, safer roads for Georgia residents and visitors," said Dick Gust, director of government affairs for Liberty Tire Recycling, the premier provider of tire recycling services in North America. "Rubberized asphalt is a technology backed by decades of research and development, but it takes forward-thinking government officials like Reps. Nix and Roberts, Sen. Mullis and Commissioner Golden to bring an initiative like this to fruition."
Liberty Tire Recycling has also worked with state officials and community partners in recent years to clean up thousands of tires spread across illegal tire dumps throughout the city. Illegal tire dumping is a major problem in Georgia, with $700,000 allocated in next year's budget just for cleanup. If just 10 percent of Georgia's road projects were constructed with recycled tire rubber, all of the tires Georgians generate each year would be reclaimed and recycled.