The Ministry of Transportation is using innovative construction and repair techniques to reduce environmental impact, lower costs, and minimize impacts on users.
Tire Derived Aggregate as Embankment Fill
Tire Derived Aggregate (TDA) is embankment fill that consists of large volumes of shredded scrap tires. TDA is an alternative to using earth fill in the construction of highway embankments. The environmental benefits are twofold -- large volumes of used tires are diverted from landfill and stockpiles, and at the same time, comparable volumes of non-renewable aggregates are spared from consumption. Furthermore, material quality is not compromised.
TDA has been successfully used as fill in other jurisdictions since the early 1990’s, including several states in the United States and recently in New Brunswick. The ministry is using TDA to construct embankments at the Boundary Road Bridge project on Highway 401 in Cornwall, which is expected to be completed in 2012. This project alone will recycle approximately 400,000 scrap tires. Based on the results of this trial project, the ministry will consider other sites and applications for use of TDA as a recycled engineered material in Ontario.
The ministry has been working with the Ontario Ministry of Environment on TDA fill to ensure adherence to environmental legislation, regulations and policies, and to identify and implement the necessary environmental risk mitigation strategies.
Uptake of this technology on a broader provincial scale -at 10 embankments per year, for example could divert about one-quarter to one-third of all scrap tires Ontario now generates annually.
The use of reclaimed concrete and asphalt pavements are ways in which Ontario’s road-building helps the environment by recycling materials. Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is a leader in the use of cold-in-place recycling, a technique that recycles a road’s existing pavement right on the spot. This approach reduces greenhouse gas emissions and the demand for non-renewable resources. Compared to traditional paving methods, Cold-In-Place recycling:
- Emits 50% fewer greenhouse gases
- Consumes 62% fewer aggregates
- Costs 40 to 50% less than conventional treatments
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation recycles waste concrete in new road base. Industrial waste materials such as ground granulated blast furnace slag and silica fume are incorporated into new concrete that is used for constructing structures, pavements and other highway components, reducing the consumption of cement.
Rubber Modified Asphalt
Rubber Modified Asphalt is hot-mix asphalt that is modified with ground rubber from waste tires. Rubber modified asphalt is reported to have beneficial engineering characteristics such as improved durability, flexibility, structural strength and resistance to cracking. It also provides a use for waste tires. Rubber modified asphalt is planned for six projects in southern Ontario in 2011.
Warm Mix Asphalt
Burlington Skyway Bridge Rehabilitation
Warm mix asphalt is mixed, handled, placed and compacted at a temperature typically 20 to 50 degrees Celsius lower than conventional hot mix asphalt. Warm mix asphalt needs less fuel to produce, and reduces emissions and odours during production and placement. It is targeted for 10% of MTO’s asphalt tonnage in 2011 contracts.
High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lanes
As part of a long-term strategy to improve the efficiency of highways, the province has introduced HOV lanes for cars with two or more passengers, public transit vehicles, inter-city bus carriers.
The new HOV lanes provide fast, reliable travel for HOV users at any time of the day - particularly during peak travel periods when other lanes can be slow and congested. They are designed to help move people through congested areas quickly by moving more people in fewer vehicles. HOV lanes encourage carpooling, transit use and improve air quality in the region.
In December 2005, the Government of Ontario opened the first freeway HOV lanes in the province on portions of Highways 403 and 404. In Novemeber 2010, over 16 kilometres of new HOV lanes on the QEW from Oakville to Burlington were opened to traffic.
The evidence to date shows that these lanes shorten driving time for all traffic. They help get people and goods to their destination safely and in less time. Preliminary studies show that HOV users are saving 16 minutes per day as compared to before the HOV lanes opened.
This extensive highway HOV lane system will help manage congestion, make our cross-regional transit systems more effective, and make movement of people and goods through the region more efficient.
The province will continue the roll-out of the long-term HOV strategy, which calls for more than 450 kilometres of lanes along the 400-series highways in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, including sections of Highway 417 in Ottawa, by 2031. In 2011 construction of nearly 10 kilometres of HOV lanes on Highway 417 in Ottawa will be underway.For more information on Ontario’s HOV lanes, please visit: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/traveller/hov/
Highway 6, Paved Shoulders, Mar to Tobermory area
Bicycling is a key part of creating a sustainable transportation network that can support our transportation needs, improve our health and continue to help protect our environment for generations to come.
The Ministry of Transportation is currently reviewing its Bicycle Policy, in part to better accommodate cycling within the provincial highway network while ensuring our roads remain the safest in North America for all users. The review will draw on innovative approaches in other jurisdictions, including Quebec and British Columbia.
The review will also provide clarity on where and when to make special efforts to accommodate bicycling on provincial highways.
MTO is also updating its Bike Path Design Guidelines. This document will become the ministry’s engineering design standard to safely accomidate cyclists on all types of highways and traffic volumes.
In 2010, partially paved shoulders were constructed on Highway 6 in the Mar to Tobermory/Manitoulin Island area as a pilot project to improve the safety of all road users, including cyclists. The ministry will be evaluating the effectiveness and safety of this project by developing a study guide and then proceeding with data collection and the review process.
Contract Delivery Models
Ontario is currently developing and implementing innovative contract delivery models to increase efficiency and facilitate the delivery of a robust highway construction program. We will continue working closely with our industry partners to develop and implement new models including Design Build and Construction Manager General Contractor.
Alternative Financing and Procurement
MTO is successfully using Infrastructure Ontario’s Alternative Financing and Procurement (AFP) model in which private financing and expertise is used to build highway infrastructure while ensuring appropriate risk allocation, and public control and ownership of the assets.
The AFP model enables us to build needed highway infrastructure quickly and cost effectively, avoiding up-front capital costs and making final payment only upon substantial completion of the project.
MTO is using AFP to rebuild highway service centres, construct the Windsor Essex Parkway (WEP) and construct Highway 407 East extension.
Highway 7, Scugog River Bridge, completed foundations