Tell It To The President

January 9, 2009

A quality network of roads and highways is fundamental to the worldwide competitive success of the United States. The challenge of maintaining or even raising that quality at a cost level which reduces budget demands and lessens taxpayer burden has been the object of the Transportation Research Board's effort over the last quarter century.

What is now a certainty from that effort is: 1) oxidative hardening is the 'cancer' which afflicts then prematurely terminates the useful life of over 93% of our nations highways, 2) the chemical identifiers associated with the early stages of that 'cancer' are now well established, 3) pavement adhesive formulations which substantially attenuate the formation of these chemical identifiers block this destructive oxidative hardening; thereby extending the useful life of the pavement up to three times longer, 4) Asphalt Rubber pavement adhesives containing a minimum 15% quanta of composite rubber derived from the mechanical crumbing of scrap tires down to a minimum 40 mesh particle size, which are then swollen by reaction with hot asphalt, have a proven, cost effective track record of this threefold extension of pavement performance.

Federal Pavement Preservation effort, known as FP2, posits that the right treatment on the right road at the right time should be the guiding philosophy to achieve optimal results. Recent innovations derived from an intense research and development effort within the aerospace industry since the mid 1990's has yielded a way to cost effectively manufacture a micronized, composite rubber from scrap tires. This micronization yields effective surface area stabilization of asphalt adhesives at over fifty times greater than a 40 mesh configuration. This micronization allows the formulation of both hot mix pavement for new construction and cold process binders for pavement preservation; with physical properties which resist failure for time periods which are at least a full factor greater than the best current Asphalt Rubber pavement adhesive modality. This micron sized composite rubber when grafted with a newly invented epoxy functional vegetable based resin provide a sustainable road binder alternative, and/or at a minimum, a major extender to petroleum based asphalts.

This advanced composite rubber technology falls in line with all the Transportation Research Board's findings of the last 25 years. Its effectiveness will eventually earn a permanent place in the pavement construction and maintenance spectrum based upon existing testing protocol. However, Federal government encouragement through the FHWA and State Department of Transportation agencies could cause this advanced technology to come on line much quicker than the customary five to ten year time span associated with new innovations.

America needs the cost-benefit paradigm shift which the Long Term Paving Program (LTPP) task force asked of industry in 1984 at the launch of the 20 year study. We heard that call and have so responded.