Greener blacktop in Yellowstone National Park

Keeping in the tradition of environmental conservatism, Yellowstone National Park announced yesterday that they will use “warm-mix” asphalt on a road-paving project in Mammoth Hot Springs.

John Twedt, who works for Century Industries, the company on contract for road work, told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle the area being paved is, “in a wildlife-sensitive area the administration parking lots, where wild elk spend their days eating the grass and resting before migrating to the lower elevations for the winter.” “Warm-mix” asphalt has the advantage of working in colder weather, about 40 degrees or lower. This means that road work can be done in the fall or spring, when there are little or no tourists in the area. “Warm-mix” asphalt roads also have less hot spots and potholes because it maintains a more consistent temperature during the whole process.

But what drew the National Park Service towards “warm-mix” asphalt is the “green” aspect of the technology. “Warm-mix” asphalt requires less energy and reduces blue smoke and odor found in regular “hot-mix” asphalt by about 60%. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the fact that “warm-mix” asphalt uses less energy to heat it also means there are less emissions from burning fuels, fumes, and odors.

Mammoth Hot Springs isn’t the first place in the U.S. to use “warm-mix” asphalt. Other places that have used this type of asphalt include Interstate 70 near the Eisenhower tunnel in Colorado, on U.S. Highway 1 near Morro Bay in California, and on Yellowstone National Park’s East Entrance. The Federal Highway Administration is looking at making “warm-mix” asphalt a standard material for federal road projects.

The asphalt will be demonstrated Monday, 9 a.m., at the Mammoth Hot Springs administration building parking lots.

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