MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Driving around town in the winter can feel like you’re on one endless, bumpy road.
Crews can patch potholes, but because it’s so bitterly cold, those fixes are often only temporary and have to be redone again and again. That’s where a new company with a hot solution comes in: LEAP. It stands for Low Energy Asphalt Pavement.
“In the past we’ve always used winter mix and it’s been a challenge,” Bernie Weber, operations manager for the City of New Hope, said.
Weber said the city of New Hope has already fixed 20 water main breaks this season.
“If we use winter mix it’s not a finished product, we have to go through and maintain it weekly,” Weber said.
But this year, he’s using LEAP.
“It’s an asphalt product,” Weber said. “Once you put it down, you pretty much just leave it, you don’t have to babysit it throughout the year.”
“We’re the only ones in the country doing something with this process,” Steven Wachter, chief operating officer for LEAP, said.
The traditional way to make asphalt can only use up to 30 percent of recycled pavement. LEAP found a way to recycle 95 percent.
“We’re not using open flames, burning of natural gases, anything like that,” Adrienne Pooley, director of sales & marketing for LEAP, said.
While other asphalt companies shut down during the winter months, LEAP is using microwave technology to turn chunks of gravel into hot mix.
“We have a low emissions microwave technology and it can be done year round,” Wachter said. “The product is as good or better and the price is as good or better.”
Weber said it’s already saving New Hope money and resources.
“It’s definitely a lot cheaper,” Weber said. “It’s really helping us out on manpower because basically you put this product in the water main break site and it stays there.”
It’s also helping keep our environment a little cleaner.
“We’re taking something that would normally be thrown into landfills or just sitting in piles and we can use it in all of our process,” Wachter said. “Nobody else can say that.”