Public works director estimates hot in-place recycling has allowed city to pocket nearly $1.5 million



FARMINGTON — As local governments look for ways to save money, the Farmington public works department has experimented with a new approach to resurfacing streets.

The new method is known as hot in-place recycle, which is intended to save time, money and material. The existing asphalt pavement is heated and ground into a mixture for repaving. A chemical is added to rejuvenate the asphalt before it is spread on the surface.

This is the second year the city has used the hot in-place recycle method, according to Public Works Director David Sypher.

"Last year, there were sections that did not hold up as well as we liked," he said when reached by phone Thursday afternoon.

Last year, the city began a project that included patch work, hot in-place recycle, crack sealing and restriping on Piñon Hills Boulevard between the La Plata Highway and Main Street. Sypher said the hot in-place recycle pavement was not sealed after the project was finished. Because it was not sealed, it was not able to hold up to the winter weather.


Workers are currently redoing the project. Sypher said it was under warranty, so the work is not costing the city extra. This year, a sealant will be added. The city began microsurfacing on Piñon Hills Boulevard this week. Sypher said the entire project on Piñon Hills Boulevard likely will be completed within three weeks. Updates on road projects within the city are posted online at

The city will evaluate how the hot in-place recycle compares with the traditional pavement overlays.

"This is kind of our test year," Sypher said.

Sypher estimates the city has saved nearly $1.5 million by using the recycled pavement method.

"We hope that if we get the life that it's reported to have that we'll continue it in the future," he said.

During a City Council meeting this week, Sypher said the hot in-place recycle is reported to have a seven- to 10-year lifespan, which is comparable to traditional overlay methods.

Sypher said the process creates more of an inconvenience for the public because the road must be closed twice to accommodate the repaving and then the sealing process, but it is important for his department to find ways to save money.

"I think the public has been very gracious and receptive," Sypher told the City Council.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

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