INDIANAPOLIS-Four Indiana counties will experiment with rubberized asphalt on about 20 miles of highway under a state grant program funded by a percentage of the 25-cent fee the state collects on the sale of each new tire. The Indiana Department of Commerce awarded grants of $25,000 each to the four county highway departments on May 12. A fifth county has yet to decide if it will participate.
The grants are the first in an ongoing series of grant and loan awards under the Tire Recycling Market Development Program of the Indiana Department of Commerce's Energy Policy Division. The grants are an incentive to counties to test the technology, which costs more than conventional asphalt, said Julie L. Rhodes, a recycling manager for the state Department of Commerce.
``Our goal is to promote the use of crumb-rubber-modified asphalt around the state to reduce the environmental problem of waste tires through recycling,'' Lt. Gov. Frank O'Bannon said.
``Crumb rubber asphalt will be used at sites throughout the state to test its effectiveness in varied Indiana weather and traffic conditions,'' Mr. O'Bannon added.
The Crumb Rubber Modified Asphalt Independent Review Team-comprising representatives from state, university and industry organizations-will monitor the test sites during the next five years and compare them with control sites that contain no crumb rubber.
Highway departments in Florida found the modified asphalt initially cost 25 to 40 percent more than conventional asphalt, Ms. Rhodes said. But the difference dropped to about 10 percent once the operators invested in the technology and became accustomed to the process.
Moreover, the departments estimated the new roads lasted about 25 percent longer than conventionally paved highways.