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New York State Highway 243 Benefits From Innovation

If state roads were people, New York State Highway 243 would be considered a good ol’ regular guy.

Tue August 11, 2015 - Northeast Edition
Jeff Winke

If state roads were people, New York State Highway 243 would be considered a good ol’ regular guy, probably named Ned or Roger or Bob. When the old refrigerator needs to be muscled down to the basement, Ned, Roger or Bob can be counted on to help. That’s what solid, steady guys do — they are there when you need them.

New York State Highway 243 has been a stalwart, 11.03-mi. (17.75 km) east-west state highway in the southern tier of New York since the 1930 re-numbering of state highways in New York. Not a rock ’n roll anthem glory highway, the Ned-Roger-Bob NY 243 has been a utilitarian divided highway that begins at an intersection with NY 98 in the town of Freedom and proceeds southeastward across mostly rural areas of Cattaraugus and Allegany counties to Rushford Lake and then eastward into the town of Caneadea, where it ends at a junction with NY 19.

In 2014, the New York Department of Transportation put out for bid the rehab of 6.6 mi. (10.6 km) of NY 243. The road surface had aged and was displaying both transverse and longitudinal cracking.

Suit-Kote Corporation, headquartered in Cortland, N.Y., won the cold-in-place-recycle (binder coarse) portion with an $850,000 contract value. Founded in 1921, Suit-Kote is a medium-size, privately-owned asphalt products manufacturer, road construction, maintenance and asphalt applications engineering company, serving the Northeast through its 15 locations in New York and Pennsylvania. Suit-Kote principally focuses on roadwork projects. During peak season, the company has 750 employees and maintains a diverse equipment fleet of 21 asphalt pavers, four stabilizers, and 12 milling machines.

“For the Highway 243 project, we’re using a modified Roadtec RX-900e milling machine to do single unit cold-in-place recycling,” said Zeke Quinlan, vice president of operations of Suit-Kote Corporation. “We’ve gone with CIPR with high float emulsion which helps with coatings and improves wintertime freeze/thaw performance by providing a matt with greater flexibility.”

According to Quinlan, the modified cold planer has a 1.5-ft. (.4 m) wider frame that provides better stability, balanced performance and greater productivity. The completely fabricated, welded and assembled machine frame is constructed from A656 Grade 80 steel, which is a specialty grade of steel that measures at twice the strength of mild steel that is commonly used.

The modified machine does not have a conveyor so the aggregate millings, with a chemically-stabilized emulsion-binder, are discharged directly to the roadway in a windrow to be collected by the paver equipped with a “windrow pickup machine.” The paver picks the material up off the ground and sends it through to be paved as the CIPR base layer. The cold planer features a four-track assembly and has a Tier IV Caterpillar engine.

With input from Suit-Kote, Roadtec performed much of the cold planer modifications to create the custom single unit cold-in-place recycling machine that it uses.

“We made some modifications to fit our needs,” Quinlan said. “Achieving the right weight distribution was a big factor for us, especially with the machine not having a heavy-duty conveyor system.”

An ABG Titan 525 paver followed the cold planer and placed the 4½-in. (11 cm) CIPR base course. Another contractor will complete the roadway with a 2-in. (5 cm) hot-mix asphalt thinlay finish course. The recycled material is left in a windrow directly behind the mill. A paver equipped with a “windrow pickup machine” picks the material up off the ground and sends it through the paver. Now the “CIPR base layer” is paved. An additional new layer of hot mix asphalt will finish the process

The NY 243 road surface is a single-lane divided rural highway measuring 22-ft. (6.7 m) across with 4-ft. (1.2 m) shoulders on each side. With a milling depth of 4½-in., a total of 143,000 sq. yds. (370,368 sq m) was milled and all of it was recycled.

For this New York State Highway project, Suit-Kote has 12 of its workers dedicated. The contractor will complete the project in 11 days with an additional 10-day cure. The entire roadway upgrade project is expected to be completed in approximately five to six weeks

“Our purpose-designed RX-900e saves us time and money on the NY 243,” Quinlan said. “It is more practical than a complete mill-and-fill, plus we’re recycling 100 percent of the milled old roadway and ensuring non-stop paving.”

The contractor expects that the CIPR will save approximately 50 percent of materials cost, as well as considerable cost savings for trucking — both the trucking of road millings out and HMA brought in — if traditional road rehab methods had been used.

Suit-Kote Corporation has been a Roadtec customer for more than two decades, which may explain — in part — the comfort they had in modifying the RX-900e milling machine to their needs.

“Over the years, we’ve had good luck with our Rodtec machines,” said Quinlan. “As a matter of fact, we still run an old RX-70 cold planer almost every day... and that sweetheart of a machine is 25 years and counting.”

With the Suit-Kote portion of the New York State Highway 243 rehab project approaching the end, Zeke Quinlan said: “Our goal is always to end our project knowing we played a role in creating a highway with a smooth ride. It feels good to know that the people who depend on this 6.6-mile stretch will have a good highway for years to come.”

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