Sunday, March 24, 2013


How Phoenix gets a 90% noise reduction on pavements using old tires that last 18 years

by Larry Geller

I hope readers will forgive my concentration on road paving for the moment. I know that other things are happening in the world, but given the Mayor’s push to repair roads and the Star-Advertiser’s sudden interest in the subject, I just want to put out some more arguments for doing it differently and not blindly pouring more money into our pothole problems.

Here’s a page from the Arizona Department of Transportation explaining their success in using rubberized asphalt. Can this be used in Hawaii? What are we doing with old tires right now?

• It does not reflect cracks from the existing pavement;
• It is more durable and skid-resistant than conventional asphalt; and,
• It reduces traffic noise and provides a smooth, quiet ride.

Noise Tests on Chip seal and Asphalt Rubber pavements on 7th Street by the City of Phoenix showed a decrease of about 10 decibels, or about 90% reduction in noise level. Research shows reduction in noise levels of 50 to 75% is commonly attained.

During the 1990s, the city resurfaced more than 200 miles of streets with 450,000 tons of rubberized asphalt, which used about 1.1 million old tires.

The city reported that rubberized asphalt place on Dobbins Road in 1989 has performed without maintenance for 14 years and has an estimated life span of up to 18 years.

ADOT also is considered a pioneer in the use of rubberized asphalt in paving projects. More than 4.2 million tons of rubberized asphalt has been used on Arizona highways since 1988, at a cost of some $225 million. Those projects have resulted in the recycling of about 15 million old tires.

I’m particularly interested in technologies that could reduce highway noise. We live so close to the H-1 that noise is a constant irritant. This material seems advantageous in several ways.

Again, I’m no expert, but I want to wonder out loud if Honolulu has considered alternative materials such as this.


you'll have to wait for Grace Pacific's current technology to depreciate before this will ever enter into city contracts as that would otherwise dip into their profits.

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