NYC Paves Bus Lanes with Red Asphalt
BY Dario Amicucci
New York City paves with a red-colored asphalt to avoid painting its fast-fading bus lanes.
The bus lanes on W 207th between Broadway and 9th Ave in Manhattan needed to be re-paved. In years past, the bus lanes were simply painted red; however, due to the heavy New York City traffic and heat emitting from the bottom of the buses, this paint layer quickly wore off, paving the way for these new red asphalt bus lanes.
RCA Asphalt, located in Mount Vernon, New York, worked in conjunction with the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) to look for alternatives to paint. During the research and development period, many test batches of mix were produced in the lab and at the hot-mix asphalt (HMA) plant.
The ultimate result was to add iron oxide (Fe2O3) to the mix to create a red-colored mix. By dyeing the asphalt all the way through, the past issue of the color wearing off the top painted layer was solved. During the latest supply contract between RCA and NYCDOT, RCA has produced and NYCDOT has laid down roughly 2,000 tons of the dyed mix. Recently, RCA produced approximately 300 tons of red synthetic iron oxide pigmented asphalt via a custom mix design created by their on-site lab technician and approved by NYCDOT.
E&A Supply Co, based in Nesconset, New York, supplied the powdered pigment in 25-pound bags, which were metered directly into the mixing chamber of RCA’s 6-ton Astec batch plant. Production saw minimal effect on the binder content, as the red asphalt mix used a similar liquid content as the typical mix design used to supply the NYCDOT.
Safety and quality are always on everyone’s mind these days. NYCDOT milled a 2-inch depth of the bus lane, prepped the lane, and installed the red asphalt; all in the same night. The reason for this was NYCDOT did not want to leave a bus lane milled while commuters would be using the lanes the following morning. NYCDOT and RCA scheduled start times for each operation to ensure maximum efficiency for the milling crew, plant production and paving crew. RCA prides itself on producing quality mixtures for its customers; during production, RCA and NYCDOT had quality control technicians at RCA’s Mount Vernon plant as well as on the job site to ensure optimal production and placement temperature, so NYCDOT could achieve proper compaction.
The project took place November 2018. After months of heavy bus traffic on the red lanes, we are pleased to announce the red asphalt has maintained its color and integrity, ultimately outlasting its top coated predecessor.
Dario Amicucci is with RCA Asphalt, headquartered in New York. For more information, contact the company at (941) 699-3370.