Reporting Bill Hudson
ANDOVER (WCCO) — There are more than 11,000 cubic yards of the shredded tires waiting to be used as light weight fill to strengthen soggy soils under a shifting Hanson Boulevard in Andover.
Now, the challenge is moving the shredded pieces of nearly 300,000 tires from the storage site in Lino Lakes to the spot where they will become filler to better stabilize the soggy soil.
Anoka County highway engineer, Douglas Fischer, says the shredded rubber is proven to perform under the most challenging road base situations.
“By taking a couple of feet out of the road core and inserting the shredded tires, that will kind of unstress that section of road and it will essentially float,” explained Fischer.
Fischer said the recycled tires also save the county money and help the environment, by filling a need instead of simply ending up in a waste landfill.
However, it was environmental concerns that caused Andover city officials to take notice when they learned that the county’s contractor was hauling the tires into the city and placing them in one huge pile.
“The significance of the size of the pile here was originally a huge concern,” says Andover Fire Chief, Dan Winkel.
A catastrophe over two decades ago can explain why the city is so sensitive to the dangers. In 1989, Andover was overcome with thick black smoke as waste tires at a salvage yard burned uncontrollably for days. When that fire was finally extinguished, it led to new state laws for tire disposal.
“Maybe if we have an event it’s only one smaller pile versus a large pile, that clearly we wouldn’t begin to be able to deal with,” said Winkel.
To minimize the danger, Andover required the highway contractor to separate the tires into smaller piles, which it has done.
County engineer Doug Fischer says reconstruction of Hanson Boulevard will begin later this spring.