Just following policy

News Roads&Bridges September 26, 2003
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Foamed asphalt is a "natural" for rural Ulster County, N

Foamed asphalt is a "natural" for rural Ulster County, N.Y., where the local economy depends on unimpeded tourist traffic to Ulster's scenic Catskill Mountains north of New York City.

This process--now gaining popularity across North America--lets Ulster County keep its roads open to local and tourist traffic while they undergo complete recycling and stabilization as base material prior to overlay.

Excessive, weeks-long truck traffic, demolition material and virgin aggregate hauling, noise, dust and commotion are eliminated, and a virtually new, high-performance road base is created at a fraction of the cost of new base materials and deep lifts of asphalt pavements.

In-place recycling of rural roads with foamed asphalt lets Ulster County reconstruct far more roads each season than would otherwise be possible, letting precious road dollars go farther. This is even more important as Ulster is undergoing a residential boomlet as urbanites bypass New York City's suburbs to build year-round homes there to escape the hectic urban life.

And the minimal environmental impact of in-place recycling means less disruption to tourists and outdoorsmen who come to Ulster County for its quiet peaks, deep woods and cold lakes and streams.

Keep the roads open

"Our policy is to try not to close the road under construction," said John Lukaszewski, field operations manager, County of Ulster Public Works, Department of Highways & Bridges, Kingston, N.Y. "It's a public safety issue. Sometimes we have to temporarily close a road, but the notification procedure is involved and we'd rather keep it open."

Foamed asphalt gives Ulster County that option. "All traffic can continue as normal, with a little bit of delay, that's all," Lukaszewski said. "Citizens stay happy, and when taxpayers are happy, that makes us happy and helps us do our job better and faster."

"In the long run this process saves tax dollars," said Ulster County Commissioner of Highways & Bridges James Donahue. "It provides a great sub-base, and anything we'll put on top will last that much longer, with much longer-term savings over the years. And the road stays open for residents, deliveries and emergency vehicles."

Ulster County has been using foamed asphalt for at least five years, but has been doing road reclamation and recycling for about 16 years. "We've had a nice outcome with foamed asphalt," Lukaszewski said. "Instead of having to put an asphalt binder down, it gives us our binder in-place, and we just have to come back and top with a clean 1-in. top-size blacktop, 3 in. deep."

That first foamed asphalt job has held up well, he said. "It's a fairly high-volume road for us, about 5,000 vpd. It's done very well and we're really happy with it."

For more on the story, read the October issue of ROADS&BRIDGES.

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