Officials with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) working with the Alabama State Parks officially revealed the new roads and parking areas at Lake Guntersville Park on Monday.
The new pathways are paved with a new, longer-lasting asphalt made of recycled tires.
ADCNR commissioner Chris Blankenship said, “We were thrilled with the opportunity to resurface the roads and paved areas of the park with a material that will require less maintenance, hold up better in all kinds of weather conditions and greet park-goers with a more pleasant ride.”
The repaving was paid for in part by an $829,080 grant from ADEM to Alabama State Parks. The money comes from the state’s Scrap Tire Fund. One dollar from the sale of each tire in the state goes into the fund, which is used to remove scrap tires from illegal dumps, along roadsides and other places, as well as promote the recycling of discarded tires.
ADEM director Lance LeFleur said, “The best way to deal with old tires is to find an alternative beneficial use, thereby creating a market for them. If scrap tires had more value, fewer of them would be dumped and become environmental problems.”
According to a press release, studies show that asphalt made with ground-up tires have many advantages over traditional asphalt. They last up to 50% longer, are less prone to potholing and cracking, and rubber-modified asphalt is quieter, reduces tire wear, improves fuel mileage because of lower rolling resistance, and is safer due to better traction and reduced misting on wet roads.
For the environment, removing these tires prevents landfills from filling quicker and stops illegal dumping sites. This process creates a new market for used tires, according to LeFleur, making them more likely to be scrapped instead of dumped.
Blankenship stated, “[T]he parks system plans to use rubber-modified asphalt to repave roads at DeSoto State Park later this year.”
“This complements the work we have done and are continuing to do to improve the campsites, cottages and other amenities to make a visit to a state park even more appealing and enjoyable,” he added. “It’s an investment that pays dividends now and, in the future, because we know the roads and parking areas will hold up better over time.”