Wis. DOT pushes cost-cutting, recycling construction projects

Published: Jul. 7, 2016 at 5:30 PM CDT
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It’s a busy time for road construction in Wisconsin and now the state is cutting down on some project costs by using recycled materials.

The Department of Transportation says a push for more cost-effective and eco-friendly construction projects is already underway.

“We've seen a lot more of them in the past few years, especially in Wisconsin,” said DOT project manager, David Koepp.

The Northwest region of the DOT says a process called ‘Cold In-Place Recycling’ (CIPR) is being utilized to rehabilitate aging roadways without removing pavement from the site.

“The Cold In-Place reuses that material that's there instead of taking it away and hauling it away to a process plant and reduces the amount of asphalt we need on the road to get the same life,” explained Koepp.

The DOT says the reconstruction process saved the state more than $14 million during the 2014-15 fiscal year.

Koepp added, “I think everyone is trying to do a little bit more with a little bit less and this is one way we're able to provide the same level and treatment and life cycle using less money.”

This year there have been four CIPR projects that have taken place in Wisconsin which Koepp says is good for Eau Claire and taxpayers in general.

“Anytime we can be more efficient with either our time on a project or the money we're using on a project that has a benefit to everyone,” he said.

The DOT also says the process cuts down on truck traffic making it safer, and less time consuming, than the traditional method.

“When you have more trucks hauling on a road and they're coming in and out of a construction zone you're putting more hazards out there and the potential for the crash,” said Koepp. “However by reducing the amount of time we have to spend on the highway doing the maintenance we could potentially reduce those critical situations.”

A Cold In-Place Recycling project on Hwy 27, south of Black River Falls just wrapped up and another is planned for Hwy 72, west of Eau Claire later this summer.