NYC DOT testing a new asphalt mixture

Updated Jan 31, 2015


The New York City Department of Transportation quest for a long lasting asphalt mixture has the state trying out a few different types. Specifically, West Fingerboard Road on Staten Island will be testing a new, rubberized asphalt that will potentially increase the durability of roads.

“There a plenty of positives to rubberized asphalt,” Galileo Orlando, DOT deputy commissioner for Roadway Repair and Maintenance, said according to Staten Island Advance. At the department’s West Fingerboard demonstration on Thursday, he explained to Borough President James Oddo and Councilmembers Vincent Ignizio and Steven Matteo that the rubberized asphalt should be more durable, quieter and offer environmental benefits.

A piece of a rubberized asphalt pellet. Photo: Staten Island Advance/Vincent BaroneA piece of a rubberized asphalt pellet. Photo: Staten Island Advance/Vincent Barone

The rubberized asphalt is a blend of asphalt cement, adhesive and recycled tire rubber. Since being invented in the 1960s it has been used on roads in 22 states, mostly in the southwest and other areas with hot climates.

The city is curious to find out how well it will perform during New York’s varying seasonal climate. That’s why West Fingerboard, from about Radcliff Road to Steuben Street, will use three different types of asphalt: traditional asphalt, rubberized asphalt, and a cheaper form of pelletized rubber asphalt.

The goal is to learn how each mixture will weather over the next few months.

“We’re going to watch it over three seasons — winter, spring and summer — to see how it holds up,” said Thomas Cocola, Staten Island borough commissioner of the DOT, according to the Staten Island Advance. “The product is very popular in the southwest, where it’s very hot. They don’t have the seasons that New York has. But we’re very optimistic.”

Rubberized asphalt is more expensive than traditional asphalt at around extra $10 per ton, but DOT officials believe they an pave about 700 tons of roadway in Staten Island each day.

The city brought in the Arizona-based company Phoenix Industries to talk with officials about their newly patented rubberized asphalt. It comes in pellet form, which is cheaper to produce, ship and implement in city streets.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is currently using rubberized asphalt for road repairs on its bridge decks, including the Verrazano.