2018-09-08 / News

Alternative Asphalt Tested on Market Street


Sarah Allen from Renewable Infrastructure Solutions of Port Huron spreads an epoxy, recycled glass and rubber mixture into ruts on Market Street Wednesday, August 29, as coworker Jeff Marter (left) and Dale Kilmer of Mission Point Resort mix another batch. From the sidewalk, Alex Bazinau (left) and Rick Linn watch the process and bicyclists avoid the barricade Wednesday evening. Sarah Allen from Renewable Infrastructure Solutions of Port Huron spreads an epoxy, recycled glass and rubber mixture into ruts on Market Street Wednesday, August 29, as coworker Jeff Marter (left) and Dale Kilmer of Mission Point Resort mix another batch. From the sidewalk, Alex Bazinau (left) and Rick Linn watch the process and bicyclists avoid the barricade Wednesday evening. Traveling down Market Street, bicyclists and carriage drivers may notice that ruts in the road were filled Wednesday, August 29. The fill material is a combination of epoxy, recycled tires, and recycled glass. It was mixed in small batches and spread quickly by a team from Renewable Infrastructure Solutions of Port Huron.

If the repair holds up, the product may be used as an alternative to cold patch asphalt on city streets. It purposely was laid in late August, before tourism tapers off for the season, because city streets administrator Dennis Dombroski wants to see how the product will fare under heavy horse traffic.

A crowd gathered at the corner of Market and Hoban streets, where the road was blocked off to most traffic, while the product was installed. Bags filled with bits of old tires and ground glass were waiting to be mixed with epoxy.

The material is more expensive than cold patch asphalt, but hardens faster. The challenge with cold patch on the Island, Mr. Dombroski explained, is that the asphalt doesn’t have time to fully cure before barricades have to be removed to allow horses and carriages back on the city’s narrow streets. Patches wear down quickly under intense traffic, requiring repeat repairs during the busy season.

Patrick Shanley, Sarah Allen, and Jeff Marter from the Port Huron company installed the mixture. Working quickly because the epoxy dries fast, the team mixed the material in buckets and poured it onto the road, spreading it with rakes. It is green when wet but dries black.

Stan Antkoviak and Dale Kilmer of Mission Point also helped mix and spread the product. Mr. Antkoviak, the facilities director, is interested in using it on the circular drive at Mission Point Resort, which is frequented by carriages, and on the hotel deck. After the Renewable Infrastructure Solutions team finished the Market Street patch, they patched at Mission Point.

Once the last of the product was poured for the Market Street patch, some unmixed rubber and sand were sprinkled on top to help the repaired area blend with surrounding pavement.

“The pure epoxy will kind of dry totally shiny,” Mr. Dombroski said. Sprinkling sand and rubber on the surface, he said, “gives it a much duller finish and a grayer look.”

Mr. Dombroski watched as the first pair of horses crossed the patch Thursday morning, August 30, and the horses were not phased. Some higher-energy teams “danced around” the patch a bit, but they got used to the material by midmorning, he said.

As city council members and Department of Public Works officials noted during this summer’s discussions, there is an opportunity for the DPW to provide some of the raw materials used in the epoxy mix. The department could purchase a glass grinder, DPW Director Mike Olson said, and render glass recyclables into the sand for street patches and such uses as mortar mix and lining trenches for new water lines. The city doesn’t get a good return on the sale of glass recyclables, he said, because glass is heavy and expensive to ship and truck.

Nearly a week after the product was installed, Mr. Dombroski said, it looks promising.

“I think it’s viable as a repair,” he said, but noted it is probably too expensive for widespread use on city paving projects.

On the Market Street patch, two techniques were used to evaluate how well it holds up under traffic. The first section has an overlay that connects the material used to fill the ruts. In the last 12 feet or so of the experimental use, ruts were filled in without an overlay. The product also was used to patch the concrete driveway at the fire hall.

As ruts become extensive, Market Street will need to be repaved. The new material, however, could provide a temporary reprieve.

“If this holds up,” Mr. Dombroski said, “we’re going to try to do some rut repairs to get a couple more years out of [Market Street].”

The Mackinac Island City Council is paying $2,000 toward the pavement repair test. Renewable Infrastructure Solutions wanted to split the materials and labor cost, which the company estimated at $5,000 and $6,000, but ultimately agreed to the lower contribution from the city.

Mr. Dombroski said grants may be available to help the city pay for more extensive use of the product.

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