In the King County Journal article Neighbors ask for a quieter freeway: If it works, rubberized pavement could muffle traffic noise on May 30, 2006, reporter David Grant cites outdated data from a 1980's test on a early version of Rubberized Asphalt on a Bellevue city street:
"The roughly mile-long stretch is located on 104th Avenue Southeast, south of Southeast 27th Street. The asphalt there is coming out in chunks and the street contains numerous potholes and cracks. In the case of the rubberized asphalt on 104th Street, it began to deteriorate after just a few years."
"Our experience is that it works well for a couple of years,''(Goran) Sparrman said. But the problem for us is it doesn't wear like normal and it comes out in chunks.''
Like technology used in computing, biotech, and other growing fields, rubberized Asphalt has improved and innovated in the 20-26 years since that original 1980's test using a version of RA that was probably not the same type as is used today. The equipment that is currently used to lay RA in Arizona and California has tremendously improved, as have the specifications for its temperature control, composition, and the process of laying it down.
Arizona has used RA on its pass through Flagstaff (where they use tire chains and snowplows) for 16 years without it failing or rutting. It would be refreshing if City of Bellevue staff would use current data and show an interest in providing Bellevue citizens with real noise abatement, as well as avoiding the necessity to reinvent the wheel.
On an encouraging note, Grant also quotes Bellevue City Councilman Don Davidson in his support for the use of Rubberized Asphalt as a noise reduction solution:
"Davidson would like to see rubberized asphalt tested with a pilot project on I-405."
"This is ready to be built,'' he said of the I-405 project, "and what a great time to test it on a freeway and see how it flies.''