30,000 pounds of plastic are being taken out of the landfill stream and used to repair and restore bridge decking on a bridge in Clare, New York. Axion International Holdings – the maker of the products that will be used in the bridge repairs – will use recycled plastic and plastic building composites to complete the job.
The St. Lawrence County Department of Highways has placed a second order for 6”x24” tongue and groove Struxure boards for the Dean Road Bridge and is working on two more bridges with the county using Axion products. The company stated that these materials won’t leach toxic chemicals into the environment, rust, absorbs moisture, splinter, crumble or rot because Struxure products are made from 100 percent recycled materials which makes them durable, long-lasting and capable of outperforming traditional materials.
A report by the American Society of Civil Engineers created in 2009 states that a $17 billion annual investment will be needed to substantially improve current bridge conditions even though $10.5 billion is spent annually on the construction and maintenance of bridges. In 2011, 143,899 bridges were labeled as functionally obsolete or structurally deficient according to the Federal Highway Administration. Building products that last and require no maintenance are being sought by county and municipal highway departments as they are challenged with the task of prolonging the useful life of these bridges and maintaining their safety. Struxure boards were used as an alternative to stay in place concrete forms last winter on a culvert project – they were durable through New York’s harsh winter and were easy to install. Because they are impervious to water and salt and do not wear and tear over time like traditional materials, these recycled products are a good investment.
The railroad tracks used by the Trinity Railway Express between Dallas and Fort Worth are using Axion’s recycled building materials. Made from a composite of recycled polyethylene plastic and fiber glass, those tracks also include sections using Axion’s Ecotrax railway ties according to the Dallas Business Journal. Milk jugs, detergent bottles, and shampoo bottles are included in the millions of pounds of plastic that would have normally gone into a local landfill, stated Axion president and CEO Steve Silverman. Tim McKay, executive vice president of growth and regional development for Dallas Area Rapid Transit said that using these lighter than concrete ties means the project will require less ballast and will reduce overall costs of the railroad.
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