Iowa City Press-Citizen: Eco-friendly Asphalt to Be Used in Iowa City

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Iowa City is becoming more environmentally friendly, one street at a time.

On Tuesday, a crew from North Liberty-based LL Pelling will be laying warm mix asphalt on a section of Capitol Street. The asphalt, which features an additive called Low Energy and Low Carbon-Dioxide Asphalt Pavement is relatively new.

"It's never been used in warm mix asphalt here in the United States," said Carrie Herrera, who handles marketing for LL Pelling.

The additive makes asphalt -- already America's most recycled product, according to LL Pelling -- even more environmentally friendly.

Although city streets traditionally are patched and resurfaced with hot mix asphalt, LEADCAP allows the asphalt to be kept at a lower temperature, typically about 30 degrees cooler.

The reduction in temperature means less fuel is required to heat the asphalt, Herrera said.

"It's a lot cooler asphalt," she said.

Herrera said using warm mix asphalt also will create a safer environment for both workers and the general public, thanks to fewer fumes.

Dave Panos, senior civil engineer for the city of Iowa City, said that by starting at a lower temperature, the asphalt will cool sooner, leading to streets re-opening to traffic faster.

The additive, which is organic, was developed by the Korea Institute of Technology.

The resurfacing of Capitol Street between Court and Prentiss streets will begin at 7:30 a.m. today. An estimated 350 tons of warm mix asphalt will be used, Herrera said.

Representatives from the University of Iowa College of Engineering will be on hand to perform research and testing on the asphalt.

The street resurfacing is being funded by the city of Iowa City.

Panos said there is no difference in cost between the hot and warm asphalts, but once warm asphalt moved past the trial stage, it could become cheaper to use because contractors will have to spend less money heating the product.