Y‑12’s rough roads smoothed over with recycled asphalt

Posted: December 3, 2015 - 3:11pm

Some 23,000 tons of asphalt removed during this summer’s UPF site work have been put to use throughout the site. Potholes and gravel roads are now “paved” with the recycled asphalt that has been ground into a material called base course. Unlike gravel, the material tends to rebind into a solid form as it is packed down, thus sending it back to its former life as asphalt.

“With the tough winter we had earlier this year, we needed to fix some roads around the site,” said Road and Grounds Manager Brian Hutson. “This material is good not only for fixing potholes and ruts, but it can be used to essentially pave a gravel road, and that makes it much easier for us to maintain it. Washouts are a big problem on some of our gravel patrol roads.”

You may not travel in many of the spots where Hutson’s crews have spread the material, but maintenance crews and security personnel do. These new roadways are making it easier for them to get where they need to go. Traveling access and haul roads, as well as graveled areas around buildings, is a much smoother ride now.

How many dump truckloads does it take to move 23,000 tons? Estimates say as many as 1,600 loads were recycled this summer, and the timing couldn’t be better.

“This material came at a good time for us,” said Hutson. “With the damage done by bad weather to some of our gravel and asphalt roads, we were looking at spending around a million dollars on rock and paving materials. This kept us from having to spend that money, and we helped keep the material from a landfill. That’s good for everyone involved.”

The recycled asphalt will also be used at other areas within the Oak Ridge Reservation.