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THOUSAND OAKS : City Expands Paving With Rubber Asphalt

When it comes to road repairs, Thousand Oaks really burns rubber.

The city sped ahead last week with a program to recycle old tires for use in road pavement.

Since city workers began using the rubber-asphalt blend three years ago, the innovative roadwork has helped recycle 350,000 scrap tires and pave more than 50 miles of streets in Thousand Oaks.

Now, crediting the program’s success, the City Council has agreed to expand the program, spending an additional $1.3 million to pave sections of 13 city streets in the next 60 days.

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The money, which comes from state and county transportation grants and from a city gasoline tax, will be divided so that 60% is spent on smaller residential streets and 40% goes to major arterial roads. Although the rubber asphalt costs somewhat more--$47 per ton, as opposed to $30 per ton for normal asphalt--city officials said it would pay off in the long run.

The paving is expected to last 20 to 25 years compared with 10 to 15 years for regular pavement, said Joe Bravo, the city’s street supervisor. “And,” Bravo said, “people are telling us the streets are much quieter. The rubber seems to have a deadening effect.”

Adding the rubber to the road requires workers to pulverize the tires into tiny pellets and mix them to a hot liquid with crushed stones. The resulting blend, which is about 25% rubber and 75% asphalt, is applied just like regular asphalt. If the program continues on schedule, Bravo said about 80,000 scrap tires will be turned into pavement this year.


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