The city of Destin’s Public Services Department recently began using a new asphalt made with high-tensile strength fibers, similar to what is found in Kevlar, to pave city streets.

This technology is expected to lengthen the life of Destin’s roads by up to 50 percent and save money on overall road resurfacing projects.

“We will be able to resurface city roads faster than previously anticipated because this new type of paving adds longevity to our roads and provides considerable cost-savings,” said City Manager Carisse LeJenue. “I am proud of our staff for identifying this opportunity to save money and provide a high-quality product for our citizens.”

The city’s engineering staff identified that the undue deterioration of current roads is caused by the expedited breakdown of asphalt binders and the unraveling of the stones from the top asphalt mat. Once the binders are compromised, cracks form that allow moisture into the road base creating pot holes. This moisture allows the clay in the road base to penetrate deep into the soil, causing premature failure of the road, which requires total demolition and reconstruction of the asphalt, base and subbase. Requirements to repair a road that has deteriorated to this level is quite expensive.

Last year, city staff researched methods and technology that could be used to reduce the cost of repairing failed city roads and at the same time lengthen the life of the roads. This research lead to the use of high-tensile strength fibers mixed into the asphalt.

In the summer of 2017, city staff met with technical engineering experts to develop a plan for repairing and repaving the streets throughout the city. The city’s original method of total rehabilitation was then revised to rehabilitate only the worst areas within an existing roadway and install the new asphalt surface using the high-tensile strength fiber technology.

Trista Terrace Court and Industrial Park Road received the application of this new asphalt in the fall of 2017 and the project was completed at just 60 percent of the total budgeted cost. All planned FY18 projects were recently paved using this technology and approximately 50 percent of the overall project budget was saved. These areas include Hannah Court, Dolphin Estates Court, Rue d' Etretat, Rue de 'FeCamp and Rue de 'HonFluer. Because of these savings and because of the projected durability, all FY19 road resurfacing projects will receive this new asphalt.