BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
MONTROSE – The county and local landfill officials are in the early stages of possibly using recycled shingles to help better maintain gravel roads in the county.
At Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Lee County Board of Supervisors, supervisors Gary Folluo and Ron Fedler said they had met with Great River Regional Waste Authority director Wade Hamm and County Engineer Ernie Steffensmeier about an idea to use recycled shingles mixed with rock to apply to gravel roads.
“We just in the very early investigative stages of this,” Hamm said Thursday. “Nothing is written in stone, but it could help with our secondary roads.”
Hamm said the county has been recycling shingles since 2014 in a program with Gray Quarries of Hamilton. The shingles are stockpiled and then taken over to the quarry where they are ground up and then eventually combined with hot mix and used with asphalt.
This would be a different program where the shingles would be mixed with gravel in a less intensive grind and laid down on gravel roads. Several other Iowa counties including Scott and Story counties are using a similar program. County officials will be taking a trip to Scott County in the near future to look at a test road.
“This will help prevent washboarding (the heavy bumping that takes place when a vehicle comes to intersections of gravel roads), it’s awesome dust control and it makes water run off so it doesn’t seep into the base,” Hamm said. “It’s a little more expensive to put it on, but there is less wear and tear on equipment with this process. We’re looking at doing some test spots, but we’re gonna go up to Scott County so Ernie and Ben (Hull, the assistant county engineer) can actually see it and then we’ll go from there.”
Hamm said this mix doesn’t require any oil. Trucks would lay it down and then the vehicles driving over the mix and the natural heat causes everything to stick together.
Fedler said the county is just gathering information at this stage.
“But it sounds good,” Fedler said Tuesday. “It’s probably worth a trip up there just to see one of those roads. Story county has been doing it for three years and we want to find out their results to see if that’s a problem. You don’t want to be the first and you don’t want to be the last.”
Folluo said there are several ways the county could use the recycled product.
“I think they got a lot of work to do yet – investigative stuff for a different application for our roads that may help with dust control and keep rock on the road,” Folluo said. “There’s a couple different applications. Where you come from a gravel road to a paved road, and then light applications and heavy applications.”
Hamm said recycling shingles for asphalt requires a certain specification on the grind, but this program would not be so intensive. The systems also uses large magnets to pull metal nails out during the grind and aluminum nails are ground up in the process so tire punctures shouldn’t be a big concern.
He also said keeping shingles out of the landfill helps prolong the life of the landfill.
“We don’t want them in the landfill. We want them out so they can be reused for something, If we can do this program it would be win-win for everyone.”