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ARA Engineers Show Illinois How to Pave Highways with Recycled Materials

December 2011

In Illinois, ARA has been supporting the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (‘Illinois Tollway’) since 1999.  During that time, ARA has provided many traditional highway support services, including: pavement surface and pavement structure evaluation services, pavement and asset management system software implementations and maintenance, pavement materials construction quality database software, roadway maintenance quality assurance, and pavement marking (roadway striping) performance modeling.

And while 'green' and 'environmentally friendly' are the last things most people think of when discussing paving roads, ARA has supported the Illinois Tollway with numerous ‘green initiatives’ over the past five years to include:

ARA's research support for the use of WMA is particularly noteworthy.  WMA is a technology developed in Europe that allows the producers of asphalt mix to use a production and paving temperature 30ºF to 80ºF lower than that of traditional HMA.  Beyond the fuel consumption of up to one-third less than traditional HMA, the lower working temperature also permits paving at greater distances from the asphalt factory while still including RAP.  There are other environmental benefits as well, including reduced asphalt plant emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC) and greenhouse gases, and also health benefits to the workers, who are exposed to up to 50 percent less aerosols and fumes.  While ARA did not develop WMA technology, we continue to be an industry leader in exploring the opportunities presented by WMA and other technologies to improve transportation while making it safer for the transportation workers to install with less of an environmental impact.

The Transportation Infrastructure Division (TID) Champaign, IL, office has provided the vast majority of services for the Illinois Tollway, with additional support from the Mid-Atlantic Division (MAD), and is presently finishing the 2nd year of a three-year contract.  ARA looks to continue to work for the Illinois Tollway and other state transportation agencies across the country for many years to come as they face challenges to support mobility of people and goods in a changing economy and world.

For more information about the range of ARA's transportation capabilities, visit the ARA Transportation Capabilities page.  For more information about this project, please contact us