Civil engineers working on a bridge project in Armstrong County used more than 750,000 scrap tires to fill the embankments supporting the approaches to the bridge, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).
PennDOT worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, several private contractors and University of Maine engineering professor Dana Humphrey on the $3.7 million Tarrtown Road Bridge replacement project. The bridge opened to one-lane traffic Sept. 9 and was officially completed Oct. 21.
Scrap tires were the natural fill for the embankments because the soil in Armstrong County won't support heavier fill, a PennDOT spokesman said.
A PennDOT statement touted the project as improving the quality of life in Armstrong County in two ways: replacing an important bridge, and ridding the county of scrap tire piles. ``We cleaned up all the scrap tire piles in Armstrong County, then worked on piles in adjacent counties,'' the PennDOT spokesman said. The tires were shredded into 12-inch pieces to fill the embankments, he added.
It is uncertain whether PennDOT will use scrap tires in future highway projects, according to the spokesman. ``We will have to look at that as the need arises,'' he said.