Tires turned to 'crumb rubber' to improve roads

FLUSHING, Mich. (WJRT) - A new way to dispose of tires, and it's improving the roads in Mid-Michigan.

Multiple Mid-Michigan cities are now able to use 'crumb rubber' with the help of a grant from the Michigan DEQ.

You could call it the circle of life. As a products life come to an end, Mid-Michigan cities are now breathing new life into tires but keeping them where they belong, on the streets.

It's kind of ironic. The very thing that helped deplete the roads is now coming back to help fix them.

"This is our second grant awarded to the City of Flushing under the scrap tire development tire program" says Flushing city manager, Brad Barrett. "We use scrap tires in order to pave our streets here within the city. Under this program they'll pay for 50% of our projects."

The process of going from rubber to road is actually quite simple.

"If it mixes with the asphalt and holds together it could make the roads ultimately better and last longer for us," says Gary Vredeveld with Belle Tire.

With the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality grants totaling to nearly 3 million dollars, Flushing is set to see multiple roads improved with their grant of over $180,000.

"The community will see three streets being paved. That being Pleasantview, Laurie Drive, and then also Cedarwood," says Barrett. "So this will be our first time using this product and then with this recent announcement this will be our second grant and will be using that within more streets in the community."

The crumb rubber is not only better for the environment, it could also save the city money in the long run.

Davison and Saginaw also received over $100,000 for similar projects using the same substance.