Plains Road was the first one in New Paltz which was resurfaced by a process that allows for the reuse of the existing asphalt on-site. Reusing materials is nothing new, but typically the road gets ground up and carted away for reprocessing, and ends up on another road elsewhere in the county. This equipment allows it to be ground down, picked up, melted, and mixed with some new material right there; then it's laid back down and rolled.
Here's Mike, annoyed that I have a camera but explaining how the whole shebang works:
There are limits to this technology.
- Because of the length of the train, short roads and dead-ends can't be resurfaced like this.
- If there are deep cracks in the road bed, a full replacement will be needed anyway. Anything that needs to be ground down more than five or six inches can't be replaced this way.
- The process leaves the road pebbly, and it still needs to be sealed, which isn't the case with traditional road replacement.
- Nielson hasn't tested it to see if the results can stand up to our highest-wear roads, like Horsenden. (The fact that we send our truck traffic along that narrow, windy road is another problem entirely.)
I haven't looked at a full cost-benefit analysis, but the benefits to the residents are pretty clear: a two-week process, including curing, took six hours to complete. It's also pretty cool to watch:
Making campaign promises is easy. Fulfilling them, not so much.