Applications & Innovations: Roads in the Race for Gas
Applications & Innovations
by Tina Grady Barbaccia
Full depth reclamation saves aging roads
struggling under heavy fracking loads
hen energy companies began driving heavy
truck trafﬁc over rural Pennsylvania roads not
built to withstand the weight, the state’s DOT
charged a local contractor with rehabilitating and upgrading
the road with a full-depth reclamation, cement stabilization
And the energy companies working to ﬁnd natural gas
pitched in and reached for their checkbooks.
The practice of deep well hydraulic fracturing – more
commonly known as “fracking,” – is a way to tap into natural
gas resources that the nation so badly needs. But the fracking
process requires a heavy drilling equipment and a massive
amount of water –5.6 million gallons for the typical Marcellus
well, according to a May 2011 Chesapeake Energy fact sheet.
The wells are often located in rural areas. This means hundreds of truck trips carrying large amounts of fresh water to the
jobsite and then additional trips to remove waste water from
the drilling process. The roads for the heavy water trucks were
not built to handle such heavy trafﬁc.
In rural Pennsylvania, this heavy truck trafﬁc on aging roads
not designed for them, caused further road deterioration,
according to local agencies. Energy companies with stakes in
the Marcellus and Utica deep shale gas reserve development in
that area decided to help pay for upgrades on the rural highways and secondary roads they needed to access.
32 May 2012 Better Roads
Investment in State Route 1077 to was needed so that it
could withstand the heavy truck trafﬁc.
Asphalt and cement, take 2
The family-owned Cortland, N.Y.-based Suit-Kote Corp. was
charged with upgrading 45 miles of state highways, “farmto-market,” and secondary roads. To rehabilitate the roads,
Suit-Kote used full-depth reclamation (FDR) to dry grind
the existing asphalt road as well as a portion of the sub-base
material. A second pass with a reclaimer/stabilizer (a Terex
RS600 and RS950) was then used to blend portland cement
and water with the pulverized material to create a stabilized
base for fresh asphalt. Prior to using the reclaimer/stabilizer
on the road, Suit-Kote made 4-foot passes, 9 inches deep on
both sides of the road. “All of this material was able to be
saved and used later in the project,” Paul Suits, vice president
of Suit-Kote Corp., tells Better Roads. “It was all nicely milled
materials that we were able to use for shoulder backup and
culvert material ﬁlling.
By re-using the asphalt that was dry ground and milled and
putting it back into the mix, Suits estimates nearly $100,000
may have been saved.
Suits says his team dry ground the entire road 15 inches
deep and then lightly compacted it. Suit-Kote then went back
in and reground the road 15 inches deep. “On the second