E.J. Breneman and its
Green Highway Initiative
by Mike Polak
The United States has spent billions of dollars to build the world’s safest and most extensive highway network, and highway experts insist that billions more are needed each and every year to improve and sustain it. In view of the country’s increasing national debt we must find less expensive new and existing alternative processes that use less fuel to explore, mine, produce, manufacture and construct new roadways. We must not relax our efforts to reduce Greenhouse Gasses and Global Warming in the construction field. In 1983 E.J. Breneman L.P. changed it course from being a local Hot Mix Asphalt Producer and Construction Operation to become one of the United States’ most well known and respected “Alternative Technologies Company” and experts in “Pavement Preservation and Reconstruction”. Roadway building design and construction can make a major contribution to reducing climate change while helping to further the effort for sustainable highways.
The benefits of pursuing green design and construction continue to expand, causing many diverse owner and contractor groups to embrace these technologies in pavement preservation and construction. Using these alternate technologies, as Breneman has, is environmentally responsible; and has financial benefits that produce:
- Lower operating costs
- Conservation of energy and fuel savings
- Reduced impact on adjacent roadways
- Re-use of 100% of the old roadway
- Benefits to the environment through recycling
- Time savings
- Reduced waste sent to landfills
- Reduced harmful greenhouse gas emissions
- Shorter commuter delays because the roadway remains open
- Conservation of nonrenewable resources Reduced congestion
- Lower construction costs
As I write this news article the Northeast & Mid-Atlantic Recycling Conference sponsored by the Federal Highway Association (FHWA) is underway in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. This conference provides state and local officials with both classroom and practical lessons on roadway recycling. The states represented included Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts; Connecticut; New York; Rhoad Island; Pennsylvania; New Jersey; Delaware; Maryland; Virginia; West Virginia, and Washington D.C. These state DOT personnel came from the materials divisions and Headquarters in each of the states. The commitment to recycling using the in-place technologies was unanimous. Each state was asked to make a presentation stating whether or not they would use the systems they learned about in the seminar. Half of these states have work already out to bid or coming to bid in 2011.
Virginia, who we have been chasing for years is committed to recycling. They have two bids out as we speak, one project that John DeMartino looked at on I-81 is not a candidate we would consider, the other one in Richmond will be a more reasonable candidate. Delaware State for whom we have worked previously has a bid out also. The Federal Highway Administration who sponsored this conference will be committed to seeing that these states follow what they stated they would do. The great news is they all recognize that the future of asphalt pavements is in the old material being recycled, hot or cold.
E.J. Breneman had several opportunities through this conference. During the conference the Breneman show booth was in place to provide information on our company and processes to all those in attendance. On Wednesday I spoke to the entire conference about roadway recycling techniques. In the afternoon on Wednesday 100 signed-in guests of the conference boarded two buses bound for a Breneman Cold In-Place Asphalt Recycling project in Lower Moreland Township, Montgomery County . The CIR crew was surprised when two buses arrived on the project and 100 yellow vested people disembarked from the coaches. For two hours they inspected our project, asked questions, looked over the shoulders of our crew, and kicked the material around before taking the return journey to Harrisburg. It was a great opportunity for us as a company to have this conference so close to our main office.
As the population of the United States grows, the additional burdens of increased traffic, tire pressures and loading will be placed on our roadways and highways. Every community faces the need for transportation improvements, yet our highway agencies and contractors face enormous cost pressures ranging from lean public budgets, cuts due to less municipal tax, and less fuel tax at the pump because we are driving fewer miles as the price of fuel rises and we endure a high unemployment rate. This compounds the already under-funded transportation and highway construction industry. The Stimulus package unfortunately did not do for our highway system what it really needed to do: provide jobs, projects and more opportunities for the workers and the construction industry. The only stimulus project I believe Breneman secured was a Cold In-Place Asphalt Recycling project placed to bid by Harford County, Maryland.
During last season’s work in Florida, Breneman Southeast received two awards for projects constructed using Cold In-Place Asphalt Recycling. The frontline workers who provided excellent workmanship should be commended. Breneman received duplicate awards that are available for your viewing in the main office. Great job by the Florida staff and Pennsylvania/Florida crew.
We have received many good comments on our new web site from local and far away places. I still have a few areas within the web site that are not up to standard; these areas will be corrected in the very near future. A web site is an ever changing system that needs constant attention.
I would like to give you an idea of some of the action going on our site. We’ve have had many contacts through our “contact us page and reference throughout the site”. A few weeks ago I received a call from a Professor Mark Grinter, Department of Construction, School of Engineering, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. Professor Grinter asked for permission to use some of the information on the Breneman web site. He is teaching a semester on “Heavy Civil Construction”, to his students. Illinois is a long way off for most of us, but those students who will learn about our process might relocate to Florida, Virginia or even Pennsylvania. These students are the future of new ideas, new thinking and projects that are environmentally friendly; all the things that will impact Breneman. In addition, Henry Balcoiv who over the past few years has been one of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) writers of many specifications and theories related to the environment has been visiting our project sites and web site and thinks we at Breneman are definitely on the right track.
E.J. Breneman is small company, but it is only small in the size of its work force and two locations. E.J. Breneman and its exposure is massive. Our web site reaches across the oceans and around the world. Over this past year we have made presentations to the Iraq Government in Washington D.C. and have been approached by the governments in Nigeria, Ghana, Mexico and Australia. Don’t worry we have no intention of placing a crew in any of these countries but it is nice to know they are interested in our processes. Our new “ALLWAYSGREEN” brochure is the only company brochure in the United States that is presented in its entirety on the Federal Highway Associations web site, The Green Highway Initiative.
There is a meeting September 14, 2010 with the Federal Highway Administration in Washington D.C. Five members of ARRA including myself, will be in attendance. We have a voice at these meetings and although it is better to have a combined voice from the association it is a great honor that we (Breneman) are at the table. The Asphalt Recycling & Reclaiming Association (ARRA) has asked me to become their Government Relation Chairman to the Federal Government and FP2 (Foundation for Pavement Preservation).
This will mean a few meetings in Washington D.C. and also with FP2. This is a great honor for both me and for E.J. Breneman L.P. We are once again recognized as a leader in the Highway and Road Construction Industry. This is the very best exposure you can get and at very little cost. “Well Done” to everyone at Breneman.