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A Sustainable Future

Attendees at the OHMPA fall seminar heard many reasons why asphalt remains the pavement of choice.

February 12, 2013  By John Tenpenny

With a theme of Asphalt – Why Ontario rides on Us, the 2012 Fall Asphalt
Seminar of the Ontario Hot Mix Producers Association (OHMPA)
highlighted the latest industry innovations that make asphalt the
preferred pavement of choice in helping keep the province’s
infrastructure strong.

With a theme of Asphalt – Why Ontario rides on Us, the 2012 Fall Asphalt Seminar of the Ontario Hot Mix Producers Association (OHMPA) highlighted the latest industry innovations that make asphalt the preferred pavement of choice in helping keep the province’s infrastructure strong.

Held December 12, at Le Jardin Conference Centre in Vaughan, Ont., the educational seminar was, attended by more than 400 people from across the industry, including hot mix producers, road contractors and suppliers.

Presentation topics included perpetual pavements, airport runways, permeable pavements, MTO’s green roads program and a look at Metrolinx’ “Big Move.” The 2012 Trillium Award winners were also announced at the event.


Keynote speaker Gerry Huber of the Heritage Research Group, a private asphalt research office, opened his presentation by asking the audience, “Why does asphalt continue to be the dominant pavement type?” Because it provides good value, is sustainable and is safe, he answered. He continued that he believes hot mix can be part of the solution for a sustainable future, as materials and technologies continue to improve. As an example he pointed to the City of Vancouver recently using a new warm mix paving process that makes use of the kind of plastic placed in household recycling bins, a practice that contributes to reducing greenhouse gases.

Green Roads
Maintaining the title of greenest roads in North America is something the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, by continuing to focus on new sustainable techniques such as reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) and warm mix asphalt (WMA), aspires to. This was the message from Chris Raymond, head of the MTO’s bituminous section.

“We’re saving millions of dollars and the Ministry has been doing this green thing long before it became a buzzword,” he said, dismissing claims that being green increases road construction costs.

In 2009, the Ministry decided to increase the limits on the use of RAP in various mixes, including high-volume traffic mixes, because, said Raymond, in-place recycling techniques provide benefits such as reduced
energy consumption and greenhouse gases.

The MTO actively uses waste materials that others “don’t want,” said Raymond, who pointed out that in 2009-10 more than seven million tonnes of aggregates used on provincial highways came from recycled roadbuilding or recovered materials.

In discussing the future, Raymond said the MTO will be promoting WMA because of its lower energy costs compared with HMA. He also said a number of “selected contracts” will be issued over the next two years with a requirement to use WMA.

“This will give contractors more exposure to using it.”

Landing Material
Super-smooth, durable runways that can be constructed and rehabilitated quickly are a must for airports, which is why HMA is the standard, according to Ludomir Uzarowski, of Golder Associates, which has consulted on several Canadian airport redevelopment projects.

“Asphalt works well in all climatic zones and has wide application across North America,” Urarowski said, explaining why nearly 85% of airport runways in Canada are constructed with asphalt. (That number jumps to 90% if you include U.S. airports.)

A ready supply in most areas of aggregates, asphalt cements and mixes as well as easy maintenance and cost effectiveness are other reasons for asphalt’s extensive use at airports, explained Urarowski.

Specifically citing WMA, he also commented that as new technologies and methods are used in the roadbuilding industry, they eventually make their way to airport runway construction. Airports are exploring the potential of WMA because of the benefits it offers over HMA, such as the reduced fuel consumption needed in its manufacture and its suitability for late-season paving.

Trillium Award Winners
As it does at every year’s conference, the association officially honoured its Trillium Award winners.
The Trillium Award status is granted for a three-year period, at which point the plant must apply again for certification.

For this year’s program, eight organizations applied to recertify their operations, “which is always a good sign that the producer sees a public relations value in the designation,” said Mike Deckert, the association’s plant and paving committee chair.

Seven of those awards went to Miller Paving. They included the Northwest Limited-Sandy Beach Drum Plant; Norway Asphalt Limited, Norwood Drum Plant; Smith Construction-Renfrew; Markham Asphalt Plant; Richmond Asphalt Plant; Huron (Chatham) Asphalt Plant; and the Brechin Asphalt Plant. The eighth recipient was Coco Paving’s Leaside Plant.

To be considered for the award, applicants must complete a rigorous self-assessment to meet high standards in seven categories: appearance, operations, environmental, safety, permitting and compliances, community relations, and industry participation. Each submission must comply with more than 100 specific standards, among them provision of supporting documentation that includes 20, eight-by-ten colour pictures to show important features and a five-minute video, said Deckert.

“The award recognizes those plants that go above and beyond the already gold standard required by industry regulations,” said marketing committee chair Mike McLean.

Since 2002 when the program was created, 46 plants have earned the Trillium Award and 27 have been recertified, he said.

“While other industries are just beginning to introduce eco-certifications and gold standards, the hot mix asphalt industry has been way ahead of the curve, already meeting the strictest of guidelines.”

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