If the City of Hopkinsville receives grant funds it is seeking through the Kentucky Waste Tire Program, the local community will likely have its first rubberized asphalt road.

Officials said they believe this will be the first instance in Christian County of using an asphalt mixture that substitutes 10% of the traditional asphalt that is used on roads with waste tires.

Christian Fiscal Court is partnering with the city’s Public Works Department to bring the project, which addresses Springmont Drive, to fruition; magistrates on Monday approved a measure allowing the county to apply for a $40,918 rubberized asphalt grant on behalf of the city. Under the parameters of the grant, only counties or urban county governments may apply.

If the grant is awarded, city officials plan to pave half of Springmont Drive with the rubberized mixture and the remaining half with the traditional asphalt for comparison purposes.

“This is a study in longevity,” explained Dave Herndon, Public Works street superintendent, noting that some sources say the rubberized surface is just as durable as the traditional asphalt.

Herndon said the goals for such a project are to find a use for the waste tires, which are costly to recycle, and, ultimately, to reduce the amount of petroleum-based asphalt used in roads.

He noted that this grant program also has the potential to provide another means for paving more streets; under other circumstances, the city wouldn’t get to Springmont Drive, he said.

The state’s rubberized asphalt grant is offered through the Kentucky Division of Waste Management and is fairly new, having been around only in the last two or three years.

The county discussed participating in the program last year but did not, and they considered it again during Monday’s Christian County Fiscal Court meeting. But the deadline for applying is April 1, however, too quick for the court to consider which roads would be good candidates.

Christian County Solid Waste Enforcement Officer Jim Fleming said he hopes the city will be able to get the grant so local officials will have an opportunity to see how well the rubberized surface, known as rubber-modified asphalt, works as an alternative for traditional roads.

“It would certainly be a help,” Fleming noted of the impact the program would have on what he described as an abundance of tires that seems to grow larger from one year to the next.

“If we can get the city’s grant through, it would give us something to all look at,” Fleming noted, adding that “I think roads would be the ideal thing if it works.”

He said the rubber from tires has been used in the past for chips on playgrounds, and Fleming noted that it has potential for other uses including driveways and parking lots, for example.

Amy Frogue of the Pennyrile Area Development District observed that the waste tires will be an alternative for communities to use for paving if the rubber-modified asphalt has a life expectancy that is equal to or greater than the life expectancy of a traditional paving mix.

“I think if we see that this alternative is a viable option, it will greatly help our efforts in reducing waste and helping maintain a clean environment in Christian County,” said Frogue, the associate director for community and economic development at the development district.

She noted that the county receives funds each year to dispose of tires picked up on the side of the road, and it always exceeds the $4,000 it receives, spending more to pick up those tires.

Frogue said this testing of a rubberized mixture has been done in other communities in Kentucky but never on roads in Christian County, including any state road in the county.

Public Information Officer Keirsten Jaggers of District 2 of the Kentucky Department of Highways said Hopkins County has had a grant to use the rubberized material, and she said the state has permission to use the material and may pave a road with it this year.

If the local grant is approved, Frogue said that work will be done in the fall, and Springmont Drive will be monitored through 2025, comparing the rubber mix to the traditional asphalt.

She noted that cost would not be an advantage with the rubberized surface since both the rubber-modified surface and the traditional paving mix cost about $40,000 for one road.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

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