New road project aims to be lean and green

New road project aims to be lean and green

KINGSFORD — A road in Dickinson County is getting an upgrade, but it’s not your average road construction project.

Officials are calling the innovations being used to resurface the Pine Mountain Road and Westwood Avenue corridor between Brookfield Street in Kingsford and US–2 examples of “green construction.” First, crews will be heating the surface to recycle the current material, which officials say will save on new ingredients and the fossil fuels used to put them down.

“When that’s done, we’ll come back with a warm–mix ultra thin top,” said Dickinson County Road Commission Engineer Lance Malburg. “Warm–mix meaning it doesn’t get as hot as a regular asphalt. It’s actually laid at a cooler temperature, so we’re going to save more fossil fuels again. It’s also environmentally friendly because we never pick up the pavement, we never have a gravel surface. So if it rains, there’s no runoff — no sediment in the ditches or in the streams.”

Another benefit of the technology is a shorter construction time.

“We’re going to speed up construction we’re hoping about two weeks in this project over traditional,” Malburg added, “because with recycle–in–place, we don’t have to mill or pick up or pulverize the old road.”

Eighty percent of this collaborative effort between the City of Kingsford and the Dickinson County Road Commission is being funded by an Accelerated Innovation Deployment grant from the Federal Highway Administration. The cost of the project is also expected to be reduced by using the new methods.

“This project right now, as it stands, is sitting about 750,000 [dollars],” said Malburg. “If we would do it through traditional methods, we’d be looking at 1.2 to maybe 1.5 million.”

These techniques have been used in other areas, but they are new to Dickinson County.

“We’re going to be monitoring it for a few years, and if the results are similar to traditional paving, by all means, it’s another tool in the toolbox,” added Malburg.

Single–lane closures should be expected along the corridor until crews have completed the project, which will last through September.