Conewago rolls on

Conewago Township-based Conewago Enterprises Inc. conducted the state’s first pilot project for roller-compacted concrete as a primary road paving material on Peanut Drive. - (Photo / Submitted)

The state Department of Transportation is charting a new course for road materials and a local construction firm is taking the lead.

On Friday, Conewago Township-based Conewago Enterprises Inc., a design-build general contractor, precast manufacturer and steel fabricator, conducted the state’s first pilot project for roller-compacted concrete as a primary road paving material.

The test, which cost around $135,000, was done on Peanut Drive. PennDOT approved the use of liquid fuels funds to pay for the RCC placement, which spanned about 1,500 feet.

First used by Canadian logging companies in the 1970s, RCC is a faster, stronger and less expensive alternative to traditional asphalt and can last up to 30 years as a road surface, officials said.

“The material is cheaper and the placement is reduced to half of what it would be for asphalt,” said Bill Heape, vice president of sitework for Conewago.

It costs about $60 to $65 per ton for asphalt, while the RCC is about $45 to $50 per ton, he said.

For Conewago, the use of RCC on roadways could lead to future expansion, Heape said. The company recently added a second portable mixer to meet projected demands outside the area.

Conewago expects to place 65,000 to 70,000 cubic yards of RCC by the end of the year. Its primary uses have been large-scale projects, including intermodal rail yards and distribution centers.

The Adams County firm landed the contract for the 1.7-million-square-foot distribution center near Shippensburg for Procter & Gamble Co. The contract was with Liberty Property Trust, the developer of the $93 million facility. It also is using RCC for Norfolk Southern Corp.’s expansion of its Rutherford intermodal terminal.

Moving forward, the material should be available to local governments as a paving option, said Ken Crank from the Pennsylvania Aggregates and Concrete Association. The association has been working with PennDOT over the last few years to develop a specification for the product.

“The commercial and industrial markets are well familiar with it,” he said. “The beauty is bringing it into the local marketplace.”

To learn more about RCC and how it is installed, check out this video page.

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