Benton County to Pave Roads With Recycled Tires

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Benton County road crews will soon start paving roads, but the county is trying something new. They are adding chips of rubber tires in an asphalt mix as a part of the county's "Green Road Paving Project."

"They grind up really fine the particles, you can hardly see it, it`s a fine product when they grind it down and that is melted down into an oil and the oil is what goes into the asphalt," Cindy Jones, Benton County Road Department Coordinator.

County officials are making an effort to clean up the landfill by getting rid of the used tires.

"Tires don`t do well in landfills, they tend to gather methane and they float to the top and they`re just a problem.  They last hundreds of years, there`s really no lifecycle of a tire in a landfill, they never rot," said Benton County Judge, Bob Clinard.

Nearly 300 million tires are removed from vehicles every year in the United States, and 75 percent to 80 percent of those are recycled in some form, according to Clinard.

Judge Clinard says they need to do something to get rid of these tires. The county hopes to eventually have all tires cleared from landfill.

In the new project, the asphalt will contain up to 10 percent of rubber which is liquefied. This creates a dense surface able to withstand the elements for a long time.

"With the rubber in it, it will stay more flexible so it won`t crack as bad so long term we won`t have to repair it as often and so it will save us money long term," said Jones.

The state highway department doesn’t use it on the highways, according to Clinard.

"Right now the state doesn’t allow that so, we hope to get that changed and get the AHTD to approve the chipped rubber in our tires and put it in their specifications, in the bid specifications so, that it makes it easier for these producers to use that product," said Clinard.

Benton County road crews will begin work on this new project Wednesday (June 18).