ADEM grant will repave roads at Lake Guntersville, DeSoto state parks with asphalt from recycled tires
Visitors will enjoy a smoother ride around Lake Guntersville and DeSoto state parks thanks to a grant from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM).
ADEM presented the funds to Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) on Tuesday. ADCNR is the state agency which oversees the management and operation of Alabama’s state parks.
The $829,080 grant is from the state’s Scrap Tire Fund, a program administered by ADEM. 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 to promote the recycling of discarded tires.
The repaving done at the two state parks will include a rubber-modified asphalt made with recycled tires.
“This is a wonderful use of the Scrap Tire Fund that does what it was intended it to do when the Legislature created the fund in 2003 – getting rid of and finding other uses for old tires that were spoiling Alabama’s countrysides and waterways,” Ivey said in a release from ADEM. “Plus, it has the added benefit of helping our State Parks, which are wonderful resources for all Alabamians.”
The grant will cover the costs of repaving parking areas and 4.8 miles of roads at Lake Guntersville State Park as well as DeSoto State Park’s access road to DeSoto Falls. This project is in addition to ADCNR’s own paving projects at the parks which will also use the special asphalt.
Lance LeFleur, ADEM director, believes the project is an innovative use of the recycled material and a “win, win, win” for all of those involved.
“First, this is a good demonstration project that we hope will build demand for scrap tires by creating a beneficial, environmentally sensitive use for them,” LeFleur said. “Second, it avoids having to dispose of old tires in landfills, where they can be a problem. And third, as Gov. Ivey noted, it provides a real value to the parks that benefits everyone who uses them.”
The special asphalt is known to have an especially long lifespan. Project completion is expected take about 60 days.
The newly paved roads will add to an already high-quality experience for state park visitors, according to ADCNR commissioner Chris Blankenship.
“We have invested a lot of resources and work to improve the campsites, cottages and other amenities at the parks, including repairing damages from storms,” he said. “This complements what we have done and what we are continuing to do to upgrade these beautiful parks and make them even more appealing and user friendly. And, of course, with the longer-lasting rubber-modified asphalt, we expect the roads and parking areas to remain in good shape for many years to come.”
Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia