Michigan County Extends Life of Roadways with Cost-Effective Solution

Perma-Zyme creates a concrete-like surface on gravel roads that lasts up to 15 years with little to no maintenance

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Recently, Genesee Country treated an unpaved road with Perma-Zyme in Flushing, MI. The construction of the 1 mile long residential farm road brought in road superintendents from all over Michigan and was able to be completed in just one day.

“Our Carpenter Road project went well. It is hardening up well with very little dust. We also had Huron, Livingston and Oakland county road commissions show up to see the process and learn a little more about the product,” Genesee County’s director of engineering Eric Johnston said.

Genesee County had previously been using magnesium chloride to treat the road. Their cost of using magnesium chloride was upwards of $159,000 a year, not including material and labor costs. A standard 1 mile, 2 lane road constructed with Perma-Zyme costs $6,000. 

The county had to apply magnesium chloride multiple times throughout the year while Perma-Zyme only has to be applied once and creates a concrete-like surface that lasts up to 15 years with little to no maintenance. Perma-Zyme is also environmentally and worker friendly requiring no special protective equipment while chlorides including magnesium chloride have been shown to be harmful towards the environment.

Flushing’s unpaved road is primarily limestone with clay underneath. Typically Perma-Zyme requires 20 percent clay content for the product to work effectively, however Substrata did extensive testing on Genesee’s soil and determined that Perma-Zyme can work with limestone present. Perma-Zyme has a positive charge and bonds with the negative charge in both clay and limestone which induces an electrochemical reaction that results in a concrete-like surface that gets stronger over time. 

Flushing’s road is not the first in Genesee County to use Perma-Zyme. Before 2013 Atlas, Michigan’s Walker Road was constantly giving its residents problems when it would tear apart in the spring.

“Walker road has 2 very low spots...the road would get giant frost boils which made the road impassable on several occasions. A lot of the people that lived there would park their car and walk,” Shirley Kautman Jones, former vice chairman of the Genesee County Road Commission said.

Kautman took the product to the road commission where they decided to use it on Walker road.

“The people that lived on the road were very excited, after that point it was a huge success. We went over two years without applying calcium chloride to the road. There was no road dust. It’s amazing. I would definitely recommend the product."