15 Sep BRUNSWICK CONSTRUCTION COMPANY’S INVESTMENT IN ASPHALT RECYCLER PAVES THE WAY FOR NEW BUSINESS
In Maine, old man winter hits hard. Winter weather, which potentially lasts for almost half the year, directly impacts the local economy. Although Maine is known for lobsters and skiing, winter weather creates infrastructure issues that cause issues for cities and municipalities.
As the standard asphalt plants shut down during the winter, Maine officials have limited options for emergency pothole repairing or patching. Maine Department of Transportation (DOT) crews work with short-term solutions, such as cold patch or temporary concrete patch. However, the DOT must return in the spring with a permanent fix.
Enter Ray Labbe & Sons and the Bagela Asphalt Recycler. Labbe & Sons had a large opportunity to work with Maine Natural Gas (MNG) to lay new pipelines during the winter. Previously, Labbe & Sons trekked down to Boston to find hot asphalt mix during the winter. However, Labbe & Sons discovered Bagela and purchased a machine to meet the demands of the MNG pipeline work.
As a result, the MNG pipeline work marked another successful project for Labbe & Sons and the company found an untapped market: pothole repair and patching.
Labbe noted, “We have virtually paved every day, except the days it snows” during a recent winter season following the purchase of the Bagela Asphalt Recycler. For example, the Bagela asphalt machine heats up small batches of recycled roadway material and melts it down into new asphalt, sometimes right on the job site.
Asphalt Recycler Enables Winter Pothole Repairs and More
The Bagela equipment looks like an oversized dumpster, but it acts like a cement mixer. The machines act as blacktop recyclers by feeding discarded asphalt and road millings into a container. From there, the blacktop is heated and mixed, along with some additives, which help reconstitute and bind the ingredients. The finished product then can be poured into hotboxes that can be transported to job sites. Once mixed and in the boxes, the material is good to use for 24 hours.
In fact, for a region with a sizeable portion of outdoor contractors, employment opportunities slow during the winter. For example, Labbe & Sons employs around 50 seasonal workers and 35 full-time employees. Many of the full-time employees drive plows during the winter, but offering paving services year-round allows the company to offer more full-time work. Labbe & Sons thinks other contractors can find more work as well as more competitors start to catch on to the opportunities presented by recycling asphalt with the Bagela equipment.
And the competition seems to be catching on as Scott Kelly, president of Enterprise Trenchless Technology Inc. in Lisbon Falls, says the paving technique has allowed his company to continue to work much later in the winter to lay pipeline.
“It was invaluable this winter, with the nearest paving plant being in Boston,” Kelly says. “It was a great tool for us and kept us going.”
Plus, municipalities enjoy the durability. Jerry Dostie, street superintendent for the city of Augusta, ME watched a demonstration of the Bagela Asphalt Recycler and came away impressed. His team approved the MNG pipeline work to continue with the recycled asphalt product and notes the paving withstands the rigors of the Maine winter.
Dostie notes, “We have monitored the material and have had very few issues. It has withstood the plowing operations and does not appear to be affected by the freeze/thaw cycles.” For more about Labbe & Sons growing their business with the Bagela Asphalt Recycler or the MNG pipeline project, here is more information.