By Lea Johnson
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — A new parking lot doesn’t seem like a big deal. A new parking lot made from recycled shingles however, gets people talking.
The parking lot behind the Logistics Readiness Squadron building used to be a landfill, said Fred Brooks, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron civil engineer. The ground is sandy and through the years, the 200-space parking lot has settled creating large cracks and holes that fill with water.
The parking lot is being repaved using almost all recycled materials, including recycled asphalt shingles and concrete.
Rocky Mountain Excavating of Castle Rock, Colo., is the primary contractor for the project. Lafarge Asphalt of Colorado Springs is the subcontractor. Dody Day of RME and Dave Chelgren of Lafarge Asphalt are in charge of quality control.
“We had a bunch of big hail storms in this area and everybody got that knock on their door to replace their roof for free. Everybody jumped on that bandwagon and replaced their roofs and now we’ve got this huge amount of shingles in our area,” Chelgren said.
Rather than sending the shingles to the landfill, Lafarge Asphalt has them ground up to roughly the size of coffee grounds. The shingles, mixed with recycled asphalt concrete, gives them nearly 20 percent of the oil needed for a parking lot.
The virgin oil that’s added to the mix, is a premium grade oil, Chelgren said. “During the winter months if we get down to minus 28 degrees, there’s still some flexibility in the pavement (so) it’s not just snapping or cracking on us right away.”
Before the asphalt can be laid down, the existing parking lot has to be torn up.
Day said the existing parking lot is being milled up and 30 percent of the millings are being mixed with other recycled concrete and then being put down as a stable foundation for the pavement.
“The rest of the millings went over to the recycle yard here at Peterson. Nothing’s going back to landfills,” she said. “It’s being recycled through other projects here on the base. (There is) no waste really at all.”
Extra millings have gone to the golf course and to other parking lot projects on base.
The materials come from the local area and the recyclable leftovers stay in the local area, Day said.
The savings really start adding up, Brooks said, when you take into count the fuel it would take trucks to go back and forth to the landfill. “Big picture, it’s an exponential savings,” he said.
“In the construction industry, there’s a big push for innovation — the environmental, sustainable side of it,” Chelgren said.
Weather permitting, the parking lot will be complete the first week of November.