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The quiet streets of Manteca
Rubber helps soften noise by 4 decibels
Work crews in June applied rubber asphalt overlay on Moffat Boulevard. - photo by HIME ROMERO

East Yosemite Avenue between Commerce Avenue and Spreckels Avenue is a bit quieter these days.

And it all has to do where the rubber meets the rubber in the road.

The stretch of pavement is now one of at least five segments of streets in Manteca that have rubber taken from ground up tires mixed into the asphalt.

“It’s made the asphalt a bit softer,” noted Public Works Director Mark Houghton. “It’s more noticeable if you are near street level.”

The first streets to receive rubberized asphalt chip paving overlays in Manteca were Cottage Avenue from Yosemite Avenue to the Highway 99 overpass, Industrial Park Drive from Main Street to a point just east of Bessemer Avenue, and Center Street from Union Road to the railroad tracks. The resurfacing in 2008 enabled the city to receive a $50,000 reimbursement from the California Integrated Waste Management Board.

The city viewed the work as a pilot test to see how well the rubberized asphalt held up. It has been in use since 1989 as it has passed muster in Arizona heat under heavy use as being just as durable as standard asphalt. Based on how the original three streets were holding up, Manteca went ahead and used the rubberized asphalt chip overlay on East Yosemite Avenue as well as Moffat Boulevard in June.

Research and data collected by various state transportation agencies show the rubberized asphalt pavement:

•reduces traffic noise by an average of four decibels although in some cases a noise reduction as much as 90 percent or 10 decibels has been attained.

•provides a smoother and quieter ride.

•is as durable and more skid-resistant than conventional asphalt.

•does not reflect cracks from the existing pavement.

•has an estimated life span of 18 years with many cases of pavement now 14 years old not needing any maintenance whatsoever.

Some cities in Arizona report feedback from joggers who have noticed the asphalt is somewhat softer - and therefore less jarring - than regular pavement.

About 1,500 used tires are recycled to asphalt every lane-mile of rubberized pavement.

That addresses a major environmental problem for California as tires cannot be placed in landfills.

As a result there are huge stockpiles of tires at various locations in California.

One such location was at S.F. Royster’s Tire Disposal south of Tracy on McArthur Drive near Linne Road where over 7 million illegally stored tires caught on fire on Aug. 7, 1998. It was allowed to burn for more than two years before it was extinguished in a bid to avoid groundwater contamination. Groundwater was contaminated anyway with the cleanup cost pegged at $16.2 million.

Rubber is extracted from used tires by separating the casings, fabric, and steel. The extracted rubber is then ground to the consistency of ground coffee.