After treating the icy roads, North Texas Tollway Authority crews all over the Metroplex are picking up the dust it left behind, hoping to turn some of that debris back into reusable materials for next winter.
Last year the NTTA began a pilot program recycling a dumpster load of sand that the sweepers collected from the roadways.
“We hope to save quite a bit of money, but it’s not only the money it’s the environmental side of it. A lot of this sand typically just goes in the landfill because it can’t be used with all the trash in it,” said Eric Hemphill, director of maintenance with the NTTA
That pilot program was a success, so this summer Hemphill said he plans to take it a step further and treat millions of pounds of sand. Sand is the cheapest of the materials crews spread out on snow and ice, but it is still a costly endeavor.
“In the early December snow and ice event, we spent about $87,000 just on sand material alone. That was about 10.5 million pounds of sand we used during that event over those six days,” said Hemphill.
Hemphill discovered an added benefit was that the process also salvaged some of the de-icer that didn’t melt on the roadways. He hoped to make this a standard operating procedure if the summer pilot program is a success.