PennDOT is repairing roads in Philadelphia’s Port Richmond neighborhood Tuesday with its newest piece of equipment -- an asphalt recycler.
The machine, made by Stepp Manufacturing, is towed to locations -- like Delaware Avenue and Tioga Street -- where it processes recycled blacktop at high temperatures to form a new, usable hot mix for pothole repair. It can create up to three tons per hour of the mix, even in temperatures as low as 20 degrees.
“Now that we are proficient at it, we are using it every day it is not raining,” said Brad Rudolph, a PennDOT spokesman.
While the recycling machine's $80,000 price tag is steep, officials expect it to save the department money in the long-run.
From Dec. 1 through May 13, PennDOT spent nearly $4.9 million patching potholes in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. The expense included 11,722 tons of asphalt at a rate of about $65 per ton.
The asphalt recycler reduces the materials cost to less than $25 per ton, according to Rudolph, who did not have specific estimates on how much the new equipment could save the transportation department, but said reduced expenses are expected.
“It just depends on how often we can use it,” he said. “This is our first one in the state -- We’re trying to get the most out of it.”
The equipment also can also break down non-asphalt raw materials to create custom mixes for other projects.
“It isn’t just for potholes,” Rudolph added. “It can be used for trenches or whatever else you need.”
Once PennDOT evaluates the dollars saved and efficacy of the asphalt recycler, officials will decide if more will be added to their fleet of road repair equipment.