Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania is using recycled plastic to pave part of a road in Delaware County in south-eastern Pennsylvania. Two quarter-mile stretches will be paved near Ridley Creek State Park and will be monitored and evaluated over the next five years to see how the new material holds up.
Officials from the state Departments of Transportation (PennDOT), Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), Environmental Protection (DEP), and General Services (DGS) highlighted a pilot project to pave part of a Ridley Creek State Park roadway with an asphalt and recycled plastic mixture.
The project, coordinated through PennDOT’s Strategic Recycling Program which is funded through DEP, includes two quarter-mile roadway stretches surfaced with an asphalt/recycled-plastic mix. The material is intended to strengthen the roadway surface without leaching plastic material into the surrounding environment.
“Transportation is integral in our communities and we are always evolving our operations,” PennDOT Acting Deputy Secretary for Highway Administration Mike Keiser said. “We are very pleased when we can pursue innovations bringing benefits to the public, our transportation assets, and our environment.”
The material being tested supports interagency goals to increase the commonwealth’s sustainability in operations while supporting deployment in the state overall. Potential benefits include:
- Extended useful life of asphalt pavements;
- Diverting waste plastics from landfills and helping to establish a viable market for these plastics; and
- Continued ability to reuse asphalt millings in future recycled-asphalt pavement applications.
“DEP is proud to support this project in partnership with PennDOT through the Strategic Recycling Program,” said Pat Patterson, DEP Southeast Regional Director. “Recycling is a fundamental environmental principal and DEP supports any effort that diverts waste from landfills.”
The pilot project location was chosen in coordination with sibling agencies and supports increased emphasis on sustainable practices. The pilot is incorporated into a 1.5-mile reconstruction project within the park from the entrance to Pavilion 14. The rest of the roadway is being paved with a standard asphalt mixture to provide a comparison for the new material over the five-year evaluation period.
“Sustainability is at the core of DCNR’s mission and we are pleased that one of our 121 state parks was selected to be a part of this innovative pilot project,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “We look forward to testing this new technology based on the expected benefits, and are hopeful that it is a model for future successes in Pennsylvania – especially with regards to state agencies collaborating to create more sustainable operations and policies across the commonwealth.”
Through the Pennsylvania Department of General Services, the GreenGov Council is responsible for developing and implementing strategies to ensure that state government agencies play a lead role in energy sustainability, conservation and greenhouse gas emissions reduction. Among their goals are efforts to integrate sustainability and energy high-performance standards in building construction, lease, or renovation through the DGS Public Works deputate which is responsible for all state government non-highway construction projects.
“Through the PA GreenGov Council, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to improve the effect our activities have on the environment, especially with other construction and renovation of our facilities,” said GreenGov Council Director Mark Hand. “Our Public Works deputate currently has 79 active projects with 173 in queue and a portfolio valued at nearly $2 billion. These projects will require plenty of paved areas and we look forward to collaborating with PennDOT’s Strategic Recycling Program by identifying pilot projects within our agency to assist their efforts to evaluate this asphalt and recycled plastic mixture technology.”
Information about the state’s infrastructure and results the department is delivering for Pennsylvanians can be found at www.penndot.gov/results. Find PennDOT’s planned and active construction projects at www.projects.penndot.gov.
Visit the DCNR website for information on Ridley Creek State Park.