Contractors re-lay highway as they go
Drivers could see flames shooting out from under a piece of equipment Monday on a road construction project between Lincolnville and Marion on U.S. 56/77.
A contractor is heating up the highway, grinding off the top layer, and re-laying the material as recycled asphalt, all in one go. The result is an active construction zone only a couple hundred yards long that leaves a completed surface in its wake.
A worker with Dustrol Inc. of Towanda, a subcontractor on the project, said the project has two fiery pieces of equipment, one to preheat the road and the other to finish heating it. Underneath the equipment, temperatures can reach 600 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter, and it leaves the highway between 200 and 300 degrees for grinding.
The next step is milling off the top 2 inches of asphalt and leaving it in windrows so it can be picked up and mixed with rejuvenating oil. After mixing in rejuvenating oil, the workers re-lay the asphalt on the road. The process saves about 40 percent of the time it would take to send the millings to a plant to be recycled into asphalt.
Dustrol can complete about 3 lane-miles a day. With a project covering two lanes for 9 miles, it could be completed in six days if the weather cooperates, although it has until mid-August to complete it.
Kansas Department of Transportation said construction will be during daytime only.
The project will also include a new rock shoulder and striping. Shilling Construction Company Inc. of Manhattan is the lead contractor. The project cost is more than $1.5 million.