May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. This is a great time to remind drivers about the importance of remaining aware and alert for motorcyclists. One way that the DOTs are helping keep riders safe is through the installation of rumble strips and reflective pavement markings.
Washington, D.C. – 2023 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting
The Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting was held in Washington, D.C. earlier this year. This year’s theme was Rejuvenation Out of Disruption: Envisioning a Transportation System for a Dynamic Future. The meeting included exhibitors from academia, industry, and government agencies presenting the latest research findings, technical developments, and implementation efforts within the asphalt industry.
Asphalt Materials and HRG Labs had the unique opportunity to present two different posters at this year’s Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting in early January.
“Impact of Rumble Strips on Longitudinal Joint Pavement Performance”
“Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of a Void Reducing Asphalt Membrane
and Other Longitudinal Joint Treatments“
In 2021, ClimeCo collaborated with Asphalt Materials, Inc. (AMI) to complete an LCA-based sustainability assessment of J-Band®, AMI’s void reducing asphalt membrane (VRAM) product. Together, ClimeCo and AMI wrote and presented their paper and poster titled, “Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of a Void Reducing Asphalt Membrane and Other Longitudinal Joint Treatments” at this year’s TRB Annual Meeting.
Caroline Kelleher and Gary Yoder from ClimeCo, Gerry Huber of HRG, and Todd Thomas from AMI are the paper’s authors. During the meeting, many attendees came by to learn more about the three sustainability attributes of J-Band: environmental, economic, and social (safety).
Important conclusions of this paper include the following:
- There is significant potential to develop transportation infrastructure in line with the principles of sustainable development
- Sustainability is an increasingly important component of transportation infrastructure, with federal, regional, and state entities having a range of awareness and education programs, all while promoting the use of ‘green’ or sustainable roadway products.
- Upstream emissions associated with materials production are outside the carbon accounting of direct emissions, i.e., scope three instead of scope one emissions, and thus, as agencies and contractors look to reduce their scope one emissions, they will be evaluating methods and materials which will allow for a reduction in fuel usage.
- Longitudinal joint solutions that offer the lowest application-phase emissions, reduced maintenance needs, and extended road lifetimes, will result in the lowest scope one emissions. In this analysis, VRAM and joint adhesive have the lowest construction phase emissions.
- VRAM had the most economical life cycle cost performance compared to conventional joints and maintenance.
To read this paper, poster, other studies, and educational items about VRAM and J-Band, click the Resources link below.
Sustainability is very important to Asphalt Materials, Heritage Construction + Materials, and The Heritage Group. There are three pillars of sustainability: Economic. Environmental. Social/Safety.
Understanding Sustainability, LCAs, Cradle-to-Grave . . . and More!
There are many sources that use 3 pillars to help explain sustainability. But, explaining the three pillars of sustainability first requires defining sustainability. The concept of sustainability arose from environmental activism. It’s taken to mean making sure that the current generation can meet its needs without making it impossible for future generations to meet theirs. That is, we can sustain ourselves and posterity only with practices that do no future harm.1
We often hear talk about social sustainability, economic sustainability, and environmental sustainability. If we think of sustainability as the roof of a building that protects its occupants, we see that it takes all three pillars to hold it up. Sometimes people summarize them with the words people, profit, and planet. Weakness in any one pillar puts the roof in danger of collapsing. 1
Although the phrase “three pillars of sustainability” is common, one of the most helpful descriptions explains how they relate to each other via a Venn diagram. It comes closer to the related term “three spheres of sustainability.” In either case, no one of them can function optimally without both of the others as shown below.1
A Life Cycle Assessment
A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), offers a framework for quantifying the potential environmental impacts of a product from cradle–to–grave (i.e., from growth/extraction of raw material inputs all the way through a product’s disposal), allowing us to make that determination. One of the many applications of an LCA is its ability to demonstrate the environmental benefits achieved by adopting different operational practices.
In February 2022, Gary Yoder and Jaskaran Sidhu wrote a story titled ‘What is a Life Cycle Assessment?’ This informative article highlights important information such as:
- A Product’s Competitive Edge: Performance and Cost
- Benefits of Product vs. Alternatives
- Quantified GHGs and criteria air pollutants (AQ)
- Using LCAs for a More Sustainable Future
To read the entire article, follow the link below:
Rumble Strips Can Help Save Lives
The Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting was held in Washington, D.C. in early January. This year’s theme was Rejuvenation Out of Disruption: Envisioning a Transportation System for a Dynamic Future. The meeting included exhibitors from academia, industry, and government agencies presenting the latest research findings, technical developments, and implementation efforts within the asphalt industry.
Rumble Strips Are Becoming More Popular, But They Also Need To Be Protected
It is important to plan ahead when protecting the infrastructure investments made for our streets, roads, and highways. Reducing air voids is critical to improving pavement life. When air voids are higher, permeability is higher, and this will adversely affect pavement life.
Roadway safety is a growing concern in the United States. In 2019 alone, there were 36,096 traffic fatalities, an increase of 5.3% from the year before, according to a recent study conducted by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA).1 Every year, thousands of Americans are injured or killed in preventable accidents, many of them due to distracted driving. Fortunately, the recently enacted Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), includes several provisions that can make America’s roads safer.
“This research helps to confirm the direction the department has taken with recent changes to longitudinal joint specifications.”– Project Manager Dan Kopacz, WisDOT
How to Create Better Longitudinal Joints?
The longitudinal joint is the Achilles’ heel of every paved road. Road managers know the first part of the pavement to fail is the longitudinal joint. As the road’s most permeable part, this joint is susceptible to the elements, especially with their inherently lower density. Air and water work down through this unavoidable seam in the pavement causing the joint to deteriorate, crack, and pothole. And when the longitudinal joint fails, the rest of the road soon follows — triggering the need for even more maintenance and costly repairs.
At The Heritage Group, we have been developing environmentally sustainable solutions for more than 50 years. We started Heritage Environmental Services with a Subtitle C landfill in 1970, the same year the EPA was created. Today, Heritage Environmental Services is a leader in environmental sustainability and a one-stop waste management solution spread across North America.
Sustainability is important all across The Heritage Group. Our businesses are focused on leaving the world a better place for future generations.
At Asphalt Materials (AMI), we work closely with The National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA). NAPA works to support, advocate, and advance the asphalt pavement industry. One of NAPA’s focus areas for 2022 is climate stewardship and how asphalt is environmentally friendly as it is America’s most recycled material. Our industry continuously explores methods and practices to contribute to a sustainable infrastructure and a healthy environment for generations to come.
As part of NAPA’s Climate Stewardship Task Force, they will be helping explain terminology that is expected to become commonplace in 2022. Look for more updates in the coming weeks. Here are a few listed below.
Carbon footprint is an estimate of how much carbon dioxide is produced to support your lifestyle. Essentially, it measures your impact on the climate based on how much carbon dioxide you produce. Factors that contribute to your carbon footprint include your travel methods and general home energy usage. Carbon footprints can also be applied, on a larger scale, to companies, businesses, even countries. (Source: NAPA Action News. Defining The Road Forward. https://www.naylornetwork.com/nap-nwl/articles/index-v7.asp?aid=707737&issueID=88351)
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
Carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless gas produced by burning carbon and organic compounds and by respiration, what people exhale when they breathe. It is naturally present in air (about 0.03%) and is absorbed by plants in photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is one carbon atom that is joined with two oxygen atoms.
Carbon Dioxide is Naturally Occurring
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring gas. When you inhale (breathe in), air enters your lungs and oxygen from the air moves from your lungs to your blood. At the same time, carbon dioxide, a waste gas, moves from your blood to the lungs and is exhaled (breathe out).
Heritage Construction & Materials
Our Heritage Construction & Materials (HC+M) family of companies have built roads, bridges, and other commercial projects across the Midwest and as far away as China. Our asphalt and aggregate supply companies produce and distribute the highest quality road construction materials and specialty minerals throughout the country.
HC+M companies are industry-leading innovators, due in large part to the problem-solving nature of our employees, our close collaboration with the Heritage Research Group , and our mutual commitment to listen to the needs of our customers.
As part of The Heritage Group, Asphalt Materials was founded in 1956 and we continue to supply high quality products and services around the United States, allowing us to excel in pavement preservation techniques and construction services.
We work closely with the Heritage Research Group team to ensure the highest quality asphalt materials and processes are brought to market. We are committed to building long term relationships and mutual trust. We are excited to tackle our industries biggest challenges, looking for new and inventive ways to create solutions that will mean better, safer and longer lasting roads.
To learn more about HC+M, visit this website: https://thgrp.com/transportation-infrastructure-materials/
The asphalt industry has a long history of working with federal regulatory agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and OSHA. Since the early 1990s, the EPA has done extensive testing on asphalt plant emissions and in 2002 removed this industrial sector from the “major source” category, identifying that emissions from asphalt plants are not an area of concern. (1) NAPA is the National Asphalt Pavement Association.
Understanding Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP) as a Clean Fill Material
In 2019, more than 97 million tons of RAP and 921,000 tons of reclaimed asphalt shingles (RAS) were used in new asphalt pavement mixes in the U.S. That year about 139 million tons of RAP and RAS were stockpiled for future use across the country. Reusing RAP in future pavements saved nearly 60 million cubic yards of landfill space during 2019. (2)
As America’s biggest recycler, millions of tons of asphalt pavement material is reclaimed each year during road widening and resurfacing projects, and nearly all of that material is reused. Incorporating reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) into new pavements reduces demands for virgin asphalt binder, helping to keep costs down as well as improving the environmental footprint of projects.
Not all RAP is recycled into new asphalt pavements, however. Occasionally, the question arises as to whether or not RAP can be used as “clean fill.” Although obviously not the highest and best use of this vital resource, regulations regarding when and where RAP can be placed as fill material vary from state to state and can be complex. In most instances, RAP falls under state solid-waste requirements and purview.
Material that is Recycled is Not Considered Solid Waste
Because state environmental agencies often have more restrictive solid-waste disposal regulations than the federal Environmental Protection Agency, it is important to understand how RAP is defined. U.S. EPA classifies RAP as construction and demolition (C&D) debris that is part of the federal solid-waste chain. Federal regulations also identify that if materials are “recycled,” then they are not considered solid waste. However, there is a “speculative accumulation” federal definition that requires a 75 percent annual “turnover” to maintain the recycled material classification vs. solid waste.
There are NO Harmful Compounds Leached from RAP
RAP is not, and never has been, considered a “hazardous” solid waste. Years of leaching studies show that there are no harmful components leached from RAP under the most stringent waste definition extraction conditions. (See NAPA Special Report 190: “Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP) Stockpile Emissions and Leachate.”) In general, it is acceptable for RAP to be used as a road material — as part of the base, recycled back into pavement, etc. — both from a federal and state perspective. Although U.S. EPA does not appear to have a strict definition of “clean fill”, specific requirements do apply to solid-waste materials applied to land.
The bottom line is that each state’s environmental agency will likely dictate whether or not RAP can be used as a clean fill material. Under normal use and circumstances, RAP should never be considered as hazardous waste. (3)
- NAPA Special Report 190: “Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP) Stockpile Emissions and Leachate http://www.asphaltpavement.org/images/stories/SR-190revised.pdf
- IS-123: Recycling Hot-Mix Asphalt Pavements http://store.asphaltpavement.org/index.php?productID=171
- Williams, B.A., Willis, Richard & Shacat, Joseph (2019). Asphalt Pavement Industry Survey on Recycled Materials and Warm-Mix Asphalt Usage: 2018 (IS 138) National Asphalt Pavement Association, Greenbelt, Maryland.
Environmental & Sustainability Terms
- Greenhouse Gases
- Many gasses have global warming properties (GHG). The majority of GHG emissions from industrial, commercial, and institutional activities are CO2, CH4, and N2O.
- Carbon Dioxide
- Carbon dioxide is a natural greenhouse gas, commonly produced by the air we exhale. At higher levels, CO2 affects productivity, sleep and infectious disease.
- Some believe carbon dioxide and methane are the biggest drivers of global warming related to human activities
- CO2 is the reference gas for Global Warming Potential (GWP) compared to other GHG gases. GWP = 1
- Methane is a colorless, odorless, flammable gas that is the simplest hydrocarbon and is the major constituent of natural gas
- Some believe carbon dioxide and methane are the biggest drivers of global warming related to human activities
- CH4 GWP = 25 (25 times greater warming potential than CO2)
- Nitrous Oxide
- Nitrous oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas,” is a chemical compound with the chemical formula N2O.
- It is a colorless non-flammable gas at room temperature, with a pleasant, slightly sweet odor and taste.
- It is used in surgery and dentistry for its anesthetic and analgesic effects.
- Some believe it may be the most important greenhouse gas after methane and carbon dioxide and the biggest human-related threat to the ozone layer
- N2O GWP = 298 (298 times greater warming potential than CO2)
- Carbon dioxide equivalent
- This is the number of metric tons of CO2 emissions with the same global warming potential as one metric ton of another greenhouse gas, and is calculated using Equation A-1 in 40 CFR Part 98
Communities everywhere are demanding that infrastructure be built to protect the environment, boost economies, and protect human health. We can deliver on that challenge if we focus on building the right projects the right way.