Cecilia Smith Mill Road was resurfaced last week as part of a five-year study comparing the performance of conventional asphalt against rubber-modified asphalt.
Kentucky’s Division of Waste Management awarded in June grants totaling more than $500,000 to five counties, including Hardin.
The $502,000 is being used for rubber-modified asphalt projects that use crumb rubber produced from waste tires. The grants were announced by the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, which oversees the waste management division.
According to Hardin County Road Supervisor Dwight Morgan, Hardin County was awarded roughly $90,000, the cost of the rubberized portion.
By receiving the grant, the county volunteered to participate in the five-year study.
Morgan said the study will show the difference between the two asphalt materials and determine if the benefits outweigh the cost difference.
The cabinet will perform short-term and long-term monitoring to assess the effectiveness of the rubber-modified asphalt.
As a condition of the grant, counties also agreed to pay for the application of an equivalent area of conventional asphalt chip seal or overlay to allow for comparison between conventional and rubber-modified asphalt. The county’s portion of the cost, Morgan said, roughly is $70,000 or more.
Morgan said the county road department’s total budget is around $2.5 million with about $400,000 set aside for resurfacing. He said every little bit, such as this grant, helps.
“It’s another mile that we get done that otherwise we may not be able to do for several years,” he said. “Right now, we are on an about 29-year cycle on resurfacing a county road.”
Cecilia Smith Mill Road, which is off Bacon Creek Road, is a little more than two miles long and 18 feet wide.
Other counties that received the grant were Clark, Fayette, Hopkins and Pulaski.
The grant comes from the Waste Tire Trust Fund, established by the 1998 Kentucky General Assembly. The fund collects a $2 fee from the sale of each new tire in the state and helps manage millions of scrap tires generated in Kentucky each year. It also develops markets for recycled tires products.
“It’s going to be interesting,” Morgan said. “This is the first time we’ve had anything like this in the county that I am aware of. ... It will be interesting to see what the results are going to be from this.”