Lancaster County road work

(ERIC GREGORY/Journal Star file photo)

Lancaster County will save $600,000 on nine road maintenance projects by trying out a few new methods of repair this summer.

The $1.68 million work will resurface 13.6 miles of the county's 240 miles of roads.

The new technique uses asphalt that is 50 percent recycled from old roads. The county also will use a new mixture that requires less heating on Firth Road.

The County Board of Commissioners approved the contract with Dobson Brothers Construction on Tuesday, and work is set to take 31/2 months beginning this summer.

Breaking down old asphalt and incorporating it into a new mix stretches the product further and saves on the $750-a-ton price of asphalt, County Engineer Don Thomas said.

"It's like reusing your own pavement over again," he said. "It already has oil in it, so it saves money that way, too."

Instead of completely replacing the roads, the county will mill them down halfway, then put on a 2-inch layer of fresh asphalt.

Asphalt roads use a combination of rock aggregate and oil that is heated to high temperatures, and then spread on the roadways.

The price of asphalt has more than doubled in the past five years, and the county has had to cut back to resurfacing about 10 miles of road each year.

The "warm mix" requires heating up to 250 degrees instead of the traditional hot mix that must get to 300 degrees to be spread. The lower temperature will save on heating costs.

"We're experimenting with doing business a different way," Thomas said.

He said the Nebraska Department of Roads has used the methods with success, but this is the first time for Lancaster County.

"This stuff has been developing for a period of time, but we depend on them (the state) to do the testing," Thomas said.

They also saved money by deciding not to repave another mile of Firth Road.

Roads to be resurfaced include these:

* Firth Road, 68th Street to U.S. 77 (4.2 miles)

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* 68th Street, Stagecoach Road to Princeton Road (3 miles)

* 14th Street, Alvo to Waverly roads (3 miles)

* Van Dorn Street, 84th to 98th streets (1 mile)

* Sunrise Estates streets (0.8 mile)

* Kensington Estates streets (0.8 mile)

* South 134th Street near O Street (0.4 mile)

* Northwest 84th Street, Pawnee Lake to Emerald (.4 mile)

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​Reach Jordan Pascale at 402-473-7120, jpascale@journalstar.com or follow him @LJSPascale.


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