State highway projects are gaining in sustainability.
IDOT Secretary Ann Schneider asked her engineers to come up with a resurfacing project that used 100 percent recycled material. They couldn’t do it, but they came close.
“97 percent of the materials that went into those resurfacing projects was recycled or reused. We had to use 3 percent virgin binder to keep all of that product together,” she said. Those projects were in Hillside, Chicago Heights and Joliet.
Other environmental efforts that IDOT is touting:
1. A windmill is being installed to supply electricity at the rest area on I-80 at Exit 1 in the Quad Cities, the Mississippi Rapids rest area near Rapids City. That should be up and running this spring.
2. IDOT is planning to introduce solar installations at other rest areas across the state to generate heat, hot water and electricity.
3. The new 70 mph speed limit signs were made of recycled aluminum.
4. IDOT now has a sustainability scorecard, on which every IDOT project will now be scored for sustainability, including emissions, consideration of alternative transportation options and use of recycled materials.