CalRecycle, Santa Barbara County, Team Up to Fix Palomino Road

Pilot Project for Fire-Damaged Road Keeps Thousands of Scrap Tires out of Landfills

The Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) and Santa Barbara County have begun repairs to Palomino Road, damaged during and after the 2009 Jesusita Fire. CalRecycle is providing engineering design and funding for a pilot project that will use 350 tons of recycled tires to repair the road in an environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and durable way.

“Our partnership with Santa Barbara County exemplifies one of the core principles of CalRecycle: Finding higher and better uses for waste products that otherwise would end up in California landfills,” said CalRecycle Director Margo Reid Brown. “Repairing the damage to Palomino Road will help Santa Barbara County residents as they continue to recover from last year’s devastating wildfire, and use of these shredded tires will prove their value in road construction and repair projects statewide.”

California already recycles more than 30 million used tires a year, turning them into playground mats, artificial turf, and other products. CalRecycle is promoting the use of recycled tires as a green construction alternative with materials like the tire-derived aggregate being used in the Palomino Road project, as well as rubberized asphalt concrete for paving quiet, long-lasting road surfaces.

Background

Palomino Road, in unincorporated Santa Barbara County, was originally constructed by cutting the hillside soil away and then building the road base back up again. The soil contained highly expansive clay materials, and settlement and roadway cracking have been ongoing problems for 25 years.

Twelve houses along Palomino Road were lost to fire in May 2009. Emergency equipment used during the firefight, and increased traffic from heavy trucks following the event, stressed existing poor road conditions. Road failure including landslides and excessive vertical cracking accelerated beyond routine maintenance, and an outside lane was closed.

Repair

Tire derived aggregate (TDA) is made from shredded, used tires. It is one-third the weight, exerts half the earth pressure, and provides 10 times better drainage than traditional soil materials. TDA is less expensive, and it provides a more stable embankment for the new road surface.

The TDA fill will be spread over a section of the damaged roadway measuring 400 feet long, 9 to 12 feet wide, and 6 feet deep. Two feet of cover soil will be compacted on top of the TDA, and the road will be finished with pavement. This project will keep approximately 35,000 waste tires out of landfills or stockpiles.

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