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Local

Engineer: New road repair process a big money-saver

STERLING – A new process being used to repair Whiteside County’s roads could save the county a lot of money – like, $500,000-per-stretch-of-road money.

It’s a process called “road recycling.” In it, the top 4 inches of pavement are ground up, oil is added into the mixture, then it’s relaid and sealed.

In addition to costing less, recycled roads are also expected to last longer and require fewer repairs, Whiteside County Engineer Russ Renner said. It’s not untried – Henry County has been doing for years.

The “old-school” way of repairing roads was to just keep laying down layers of “hot mix,” but that wouldn’t solve the problem of cracked roads so much as provide a temporary fix. The already-there cracks would reappear after a time, then eventually more hot mix would be added, making the roads thicker and thicker until about 30 years down the road, when they’re torn up and the process begins again.

Recycling the road addresses the root of the problem by grinding up the cracks to begin with, then just using that same material to repave the road.

“It’s like laying hot mix, but it’s not really hot,” Renner said. “It uses an emulsion which mixes in with it, and it pretty much just laid out the same way, but then you have 4 inches of a material that’s more stable.”

The process is going to be used on about 10 miles of roads throughout Whiteside County this summer, Renner said. The first 5-mile stretch is happening right now, on Sand Road between Moline and Albany roads. That section, now closed to traffic, is expected to reopen Wednesday.

The Sand Road recycling project will cost the county $500,000 to $600,000, compared to the $1 million it cost to resurface a 5-mile stretch of Coleta Road last year.

Toward the end of the summer, Renner said, another 5 miles of road in Whiteside County will be recycled, including parts of Chase, Hurd, and Springhill roads, at a cost of about $734,500.

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