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Hubbard County pleased with the DuraBlend road treatment

According to Envirotech Services, DuraBlend is a polymer blend that bonds to clay particles in the aggregate/gravel, thereby “lowering migration of chloride from the road to improve friction in moisture situations and provide for safer driving surfaces.” The company says DuraBlend reduces leaching by 50% compared to traditional products.

010122.N.PRE.HubbardCounty2021ChlorideMap.jpg
The green represents townships or cities that have have a joint calcium chloride program with Hubbard County. Light orange is where a chloride-free lignin product was tested. The county found the emulsion product (dark orange) was too sticky and ineffective.

The Hubbard County Highway Department tested alternatives to calcium chloride on road segments this year.

DuraBlend, a new product by EnviroTech Services Inc. of Greeley, Colo., received rave reviews.

Hubbard County Public Works Coordinator Jed Nordin recapped the test results at the Dec. 21 county board meeting.

“As we’ve discussed in the past, calcium chloride has some drawbacks, but of course, we look at it from a financial standpoint and how it’s able to hold our roads together and reduce the maintenance. It’s kind of a give-and-take, and we like the results that we get from this,” he said.

In 2021, the county paid 99 cents per gallon of calcium chloride. The approximate cost is $2,904 per mile.

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“We spray about 20 feet wide,” Nordin explained, “That’s about 2.5 gallons per square yard.”

Last year, the county sprayed calcium chloride on a total of 223 miles. The breakdown is as follows:

  • 26 miles of County State Aid Highway (CSAH)

  • 104.5 miles of county roads

  • 72 miles of township roads

  • 3.12 miles of city roads

  • 16 miles of pipeline roads.

Total cost was $626,221.

010122.N.PRE.HubbardCounty2021ChlorideMap.jpg
The green represents townships or cities that have have a joint calcium chloride program with Hubbard County. Light orange is where a chloride-free lignin product was tested. The county found the emulsion product (dark orange) was too sticky and ineffective.

“Obviously, it’s a very large program,” Nordin said. “Some counties don’t do much at all. Some counties do more, including two applications during the year.”

Nordin said the quality of the product, weather conditions and traffic count affect the calcium chloride application.

The pipeline work will be reimbursed, he noted.

Nordin suspects Hubbard County is the first to test Durablend.

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According to Envirotech Services, DuraBlend is a polymer blend that bonds to clay particles in the aggregate/gravel, thereby “lowering migration of chloride from the road to improve friction in moisture situations and provide for safer driving surfaces.” The company says DuraBlend reduces leaching by 50% compared to traditional products.

“This means it’s not running off the road potentially into ditches or water areas, so we like that,” Nordin said.

It costs $1.18 per gallon, a 19.2% increase in cost compared to calcium chloride.

Nordin said DuraBlend is hydroscopic – it collects moisture – but this summer was dry.

Jeff Adolphson, assistant county highway engineer, explained, “At the same time, that polymer resists evaporation, so it absorbs quicker, holds on longer and stays right with the gravel longer.”

“The DuraBlend roads turned out to be very, very good,” Nordin said, adding that they stayed dry into September/October, much longer than roads with calcium chloride. “We’re getting more bang for the buck.”

Nordin plans to increase the use of DuraBlend in 2022. He suggests switching 30 to 50 of the road program to DuraBlend.

County commissioner Char Christenson asked if townships would have this option as well.

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“We have townships very interested in doing this for the water quality concerns, and so for the small price difference, I don’t think we’re going to have any issues,” Nordin said. He will approach townships this month.

The county also experimented with BaseOne, a stabilizer. Nordin said they found that it is not a good dust suppressant, so it must be capped with calcium chloride. The advantage is that a reduced amount of calcium chloride can be applied to the road.

The county also experimented with other Envirotech Services products: a low/no chloride product, an emulsion, a lignin and a synthetic. They were topped with DuraBlend.

All worked pretty well, except the emulsion, Adolphson said.

Nordin said they are already happy with DuraBlend on its own, but will continue to study it.

Nordin said roads with no chloride or a only base stabilizer were difficult to maintain due to dust issues and washboards.

County commissioner Dan Stacey commended the highway department for being receptive to the needs of the community. “Maybe we can find something that’ll work for us,” he said.

Related Topics: GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
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