Where crumb rubber meets the road

Apr 15, 2021

DICKINSON COUNTY, MI--   A portion of U.P. roadway that uses pieces of old rubber tires has performed well over the past two years.

The project focused on a stretch of County Road 607 in Dickinson County. In 2019 three 3,300-foot sections were paved: one section with conventional asphalt, one with half engineered crumb rubber and another with rubber in the base and top layers.

Highway engineer Lance Malburg says lab experiments performed at Michigan Tech show the performance of the materials has improved over the past two years, with more resistance to rutting during hot temperatures and cracking during cold weather.

The sections will be monitored and tested for ten or more years. Officials hope the project will demonstrate that rubberized asphalt not only is smoother, quieter, and longer lasting than traditional asphalt, but can also be made economically.

The project is a joint undertaking of Michigan Tech, the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, and the Dickinson County Road Commission.