Finding a solution for a sinking road - thanks to 200k tires

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Dec 25, 2013 5:00 AM

(State College) -- A tire bale site turned into a solution for a sinking road, and it's still holding up years later.Penn State tried a unique approach to solve the problem.

Penn State's Center for Dirt and Gravel Studies took the more than 200-thousand tires, compressed them using a hydraulic press, and wrapped them in stainless steel bands. 


Photo by Angie/Wikicommons

All that work was done to fill in a road in Madison Township, Columbia County.

They recently offered tours of the mile-long road, which has required little maintenance since the switchover seven years ago. 

"There's also been some work on roads with shredding tires, but shredding tires exposes the steel belding in the tires, which leads towards potential iron problems in the water," says Dave Shearer, who worked on the project.

"They are totally happy with this road. When you can get your road up and you can get sheetflow drainage for it to flow off both sides of the road, utilizing the crown in your road, your maintenance goes way, way down. And it's also a pollution situation too."

Shearer says pollution isn't an issue when the tires are compacted because they stick together.

He adds he's aware of only one other state that has compacted tires like Pennsylvania -- New York.

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