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Ohio University hosts workshop on recycling asphalt shingles in pavement

ATHENS, OHIO (Nov. 15, 2010) – Ohio University’s Ohio Research Institute for Transportation and the Environment (ORITE), part of the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology, and Flexible Pavements of Ohio (FPO) held a workshop last week to help educate Ohio’s asphalt industry on the use of recycled asphalt shingles (RAS) in pavement.

About 65 researchers, state transportation officials, asphalt producers, contracting and engineering companies attended the workshop, where several nationally recognized RAS experts spoke.

Andrew Gall, director of customer relations for FPO, said the workshop came at a pivotal time for all sectors of Ohio’s asphalt industry, as the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is currently developing a construction specification to explore the economic feasibility, environmental benefits and performance of RAS in asphalt mixes.

“The incorporation of recycled asphalt shingles in asphalt pavements can improve pavement performance, reduce initial construction costs and provide useful disposal of waste material without diminishing pavement performance,” Gall explained.

Shad Sargand, associate director of ORITE, noted that leaders in the asphalt industry asked ORITE to research the recycling of roof shingles into asphalt because Ohio University has become a leader in pavement research and operates a top-notch facility, the National Asphalt Laboratory on Ohio University’s Lancaster campus.

“Now, used asphalt shingles go to the landfill after they are removed from a roof,” Sargand said. “But as the cost of oil rises, recycling shingles and asphalt pavement represent a way to reduce the demand for new oil to make asphalt and keep material out of the waste stream.”

Gall said the Construction Materials Recycling Association estimates that more than 10 million tons of shingles are removed from rooftops each year and dumped on landfills.

“Known as ‘tear offs,’ these shingles cost hundreds of millions of dollars annually in disposal fees and, once there, will remain in landfills for another 300 years,” Gall said. “The use of RAS utilizing these tear offs could break this cycle and divert this former waste material to use in Ohio’s roadways.”

ODOT anticipates that a draft construction specification will be completed by the end of the year for use in the 2011 construction program. 

Contact: Russ College Director of External Relations Colleen Carow at 740-593-1488 or carow@ohio.edu

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