Recycled Roads: GlassphaltFriday, June 5th, 2009
We recently paved a section of N. Charles Street with glassphalt. This product is conventional hot mix asphalt with a small percentage of glass in the mix.
This product was popular for a brief time in the 1980’s. Reportedly, it was a favorite of Mayor Schaeffer. P. Flanigan & Sons stopped regularly producing it chiefly because a local perfume bottle factory closed. The factory produced the highest quality crushed glass.
There are several existing locations in Baltimore with this product: N. Charles Street access road by the Homewood campus of Johns Hopkins University campus, Mt. Royal Avenue by the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, and Williams Street. near Federal Hill. The glass in the mix is a sound aggregate and this mix is quite durable. The mix we produced this week was a significantly finer mix than that which we produced twenty years ago. The chief concerns with the old glassphalt mix were the potential for raveling and poor skid resistance. These concerns should be largely mitigated by the use of a finer crushed glass.
Most importantly, the glass reflects light which makes for a nice effect at night. The mixture of light produced from cars, streetlights, and signage creates a dynamic array of light and color. The area of N. Charles Street paved by P. Flanigan & Sons is known as the Station North Arts District on N. Charles Street. In a few months, after the binder has been polished off the glass by traffic, the road will reflect not only the street lights and head lights, but also the artistic and funky nature of this unique community.