Motorists in Orange County will soon travel on roadways made from recycled tires, Caltrans announced today. The innovative technology will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide commuters and freight haulers with a safer, quieter driving experience at 19 locations on State Routes 55, 73, and 91 in the cities of Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Laguna Niguel, Santa Ana, and Tustin.

Caltrans began construction in August 2023, throughout Orange County to upgrade curb ramps and guardrails, repair old and cracked concrete pavements, and replace damaged asphalt with rubberized hot mix asphalt, a material made of recycled rubber tires. The $26.5 million project is funded through a combination of local, state, and federal funds from the Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Account (RMRA), including $140 million from Senate Bill (SB) 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017.

Production of rubberized asphalt uses lower temperatures than those required to make traditional surfaces, helping to shrink the department’s carbon footprint and reduce the transportation system’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. The new technology also saves thousands of used tires from piling up in our landfills.

Studies demonstrate that installing rubberized asphalt can cut road noise by up to 80 percent—providing motorists with a smoother and quieter drive. Work on the project is expected to be completed by April 2026.

“This project represents the Department’s ‘tire’less commitment to make the transportation system safer and greener in Orange County and throughout the state,” Caltrans Director Tony Tavares said. “Utilizing state-of-the-art methods and recycled materials to enhance the travel experience in a manner that honors sustainability and respects our Earth is the ultimate win-win.”

“We are committed to investing in infrastructure solutions that balance the needs of our transportation network with our responsibility to the environment,” Caltrans District 12 Director Lan Zhou said. “This project exemplifies our dedication to innovation and sustainability here in Orange County, and we look forward to the positive impact this project will bring to our community.”

SB 1 provides $5 billion in transportation funding annually that is shared equally by state and local agencies. Road projects progress through construction phases more quickly based on the availability of SB 1 funds, including projects that are partially funded by SB 1.

Caltrans reminds motorists that it is their responsibility to “Be Work Zone Alert” and to slow down in construction zones for the safety of themselves, other travelers, and the crew members that are working for all Californians.

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