Investigators from the Mizzou Asphalt Pavement and Innovation Lab (MAPIL) designed a real-world test road using recycled materials such as scrap tires and plastic waste along a portion of Interstate 155 in the Missouri Bootheel in collaboration with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). According to Bill Buttlar, Director of MAPIL, this innovative process can reduce the number of items ending up in landfills or leaking into the environment by enhancing the sustainability of asphalt mixes.
The I-155 project expands on the group’s previous test road, installed along a stretch of Stadium Boulevard in Columbia, Missouri. Instead of testing only four different types of recycled materials, the I-155 project will assess the real-world effectiveness of nine different types of recycled materials in the production of asphalt pavement. This includes three types of polyethylene (PE)—a material frequently seen in plastic grocery bags—as well as ground tire rubber, a newer method of disposing of scrap tires.
Buttlar is also the Glen Barton Chair in Flexible Pavements. Since the group has resolved most of the translational research questions, such as durability and safety, that could dissuade a general contractor or department of transportation from adopting this ground-breaking strategy, MU is at the forefront of this type of work in the United States.