New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced the agency has started using the first of 12 new Stimulus-funded electric screeds as part of a more efficient, cleaner way to pave City streets. Screeds are a vital piece of paving equipment and are attached to asphalt paving machines, spreading the asphalt so that it is smooth, level and compacted on the roadway. The $1.14 million program is being paid for through an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant and offers the City’s greatest fleet-based savings in greenhouse gas emissions, with 3,235 metric tons reduced over the expected life of the equipment. The new, electric screeds replace models that used diesel fuel. The change is expected to provide annual fuel savings of about 22,000 gallons of fuel worth about $90,000 while reducing annual carbon dioxide emissions by nearly by over 230 tons—roughly equivalent to the emissions produced by 40 cars driven 10,000 miles a year. The Commissioner announced the new machinery at an East Elmhurst, Queens work site—the latest in the City’s targeted strip paving initiative to repair roads damaged by this year’s severe winter weather. DOT has already filled 207,600 potholes so far this year, up nearly 14% from the 182,681 potholes filled last year as of March 29, 2010. The Commissioner was joined on 29th Avenue by Councilmember Julissa Ferreras and Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik.
“We will not let up in our work to make our streets as smooth as they can be, nor in finding more sustainable and efficient ways to do it,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “These new Stimulus-funded screeds will help bring smooth blacktop to our neighborhoods without leaving all the extra emissions behind.”
The funding is made available through State Energy Program which is administered by the New York State Energy Research Authority, and is further subsidized with City funding as part of a plan being managed by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to transition to a cleaner City fleet.
“By replacing diesel-burning equipment with cleaner alternatives, we are working to reduce City government’s greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2017,” said Department of Citywide Administrative Services Commissioner Edna Wells Handy. “Together, DOT and DCAS are putting Federal stimulus funds to work in ways that are making New York more efficient and greener.”
“Roads repaved in a way that is more efficient, saves money and reduces emissions—a winning combination that our borough and city will benefit from for many years to come,” said Borough President Helen Marshall. “I thank Mayor Bloomberg, Department of Transportation Commissioner Sadik-Khan and the State Energy Program for this timely strip paving initiative that comes in the wake of our severe winter storms.”
“This past winter took its toll on our City Streets,” said City Councilmember Julissa Ferreras. “Our roads are the arteries for economic development and prosperity in our City and if they are not maintained commerce at all levels could be disrupted. It can also result in a safety hazard to all that use our roads; I appreciate that the DOT is hard at work making our roads safer so commerce can continue uninterrupted and our citizens can safely use the roads without worry.”
“Mother Nature truly packed a punch this winter, and as we continue repairing New York’s streets, knowing that we have more efficient, more sustainable, and more cost-effective equipment at our disposal is good news for our neighborhoods and good news for the city’s bottom line,” said City Council Transportation Chair James Vacca.
“After the winter we endured in New York, there is no doubt DOT will be busy filling pot holes throughout the spring,” said City Council Member James Gennaro. “As chair of the City Council's Environmental Protection Committee, it is reassuring to know that the Department is continuing to work hard and think 'green.' I want to thank Commissioner Sadik-Khan for securing these sustainable screeds for the city and promoting a 'green' agenda for our streets."
Screeds need to be heated to up to 330 degrees in order to keep the asphalt from sticking.
Electric screeds can achieve these temperatures yet they require less maintenance and cleaning while also laying out a better “mat” of asphalt during the paving process. Twelve screeds total will be purchased through this program at a cost of $1.14 million. In addition to the environmental and cost-savings benefits, electric screeds increase safety for crews as they produce no flame or fumes, and they help the City meet the air quality goals of PlaNYC and DOT’s strategic plan.
DOT is one of 10 City agencies benefiting from these funds, which will also be used for projects such as solar photovoltaic systems, and energy efficient lighting retrofits, and the purchase of hybrid buses.
The introduction of the electric screeds is the latest enhancement in DOT’s efforts to “green” its paving operation, In many of its paving jobs, DOT uses 40% recycled asphalt and annually it recycles 174,000 tons of asphalt, eliminating the need for 840,000 barrels of oil used in production. DOT is looking to expand the use of warm-mix asphalt, a new technology that allows asphalt to be produced at temperatures more than 100 degrees cooler than what is normally required. These efforts save energy during production and also extend the paving season, resulting in better roads. DOT hopes to increasingly integrate Evotherm technology during the next several years.
DOT opened a second asphalt plant at Harper Street in Queens last Spring, which will increase the amount of City-produced asphalt from 50 percent to approximately 75 percent of the overall supply, while also improving efficiency. This equals 250,000 tons of asphalt a year, with a 25% increase in recycled product. New York City currently boasts the largest municipal production of recycled asphalt in the nation.