If you drive a car, it’s likely that you’ve had to replace the tires on your car from time to time over the life of the vehicle. With four tires on every car, and replacements happening every day, it’s no surprise that experts suggest approximately 290 million tires are disposed of every year. Even worse, nearly 20% of them, or 55 million old tires are illegally dumped in landfills, private property, or left on the side of the road.
In 2016, and age of economic interest and planet-minded millennials, rubberized asphalt is a feasible solution to the plethora of used tires that continues to grow annually. If old tires are not recycled and reused, their existence becomes a threat to the earth, the quality of human life, and the likelihood of running out of resources in the future.
The use of tires in asphalt began as a way to eliminate piles of scrap tires. Today, it’s a roadway finishing solution that provides a longer life for the asphalt, a smoother and quieter drive for those on the roads, and a safer surface for cars and tires.
For decades, asphalt surfaces composed of recycled tire crumbles have shown to improve skid resistance, the quality of automobile riding, the lifespan of the pavement and reduced pavement noise levels. Phoenix, Arizona is responsible for originally pioneering the use of rubberized asphalt in the 1960’s because of its durability. In the years that followed, it became increasingly popular for its ability to reduce road noise. Rubber-modified asphalt holds more elasticity, making it less brittle and prone to cracking.
In 2003, the Arizona Department of Transportation began a three-year, $34 million project called the Quiet Pavement Pilot Program. In partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, the program was designed to determine whether or not sound walls could be replaced by rubberized asphalt to reduce noise on busy roadways. After one year, it was determined that rubber-modified asphalt did, in fact, result in quieter highways.
Arizona spearheaded the widely popular use of rubberized asphalt, which can now be found on major roadways in the states of California, Texas, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, as well as across the world in Brussels and Belgium. Projects similar to that of Arizona’s 2003 Quiet Pavement Pilot Program are currently underway in both Bellevue and Kirkland, Washington, as well as a number of local roads in Colorado Springs, Colorado.