Storm-damaged slabs are recycled, reused in prominent projects

GULFPORT, MS

Another truck, loaded with chunks of concrete, arrived at the Warren Paving plant on Reichold Road Monday morning. The pieces were piled on tall mounds of broken slabs that were waiting to be recycled.

“There was a market here and we decided to try it,” said Steven Warren, Executive Vice President of Warren Paving. “We put the crusher in and basically started taking concrete and not charging people to dump it here.”

The company started recycling old concrete about ten years ago.  Most of the concrete was from demolition projects.  Recently, the concrete came from damaged slabs that were torn up from homes, businesses and roadways.

“Hurricane Katrina was a bonus for us.  We didn’t plan that,” said Warren. “But when it happened, it was unbelievable.  We happened to be at the right place at the right time.”

The Gulfport company processes about 100,000 tons of concrete a year. The concrete goes through the “Jaw Crusher”, then the “Impact Crusher.”  The machines break the large pieces down to small rocks, ranging in size from one-and-a-half inches to fine dust. The final product is then re-used in new construction projects.

“The first project we used it on was the Jourdan River Bridge.  The reconstruction of that was MDOT’s test project for crushed concrete to make sure it’s a good product.  It passed with flying colors. We’ve been using it ever since,” said Warren.

The crushed concrete was also used as the road base for Highways 67 and 605 in Harrison County.  Current construction projects include the parking lot of a new elementary school in Waveland, the Coast Coliseum parking lot in Biloxi, and the Tucker Road widening in Jackson County.

The company said the business venture is a win-win-win situation.  The demolition companies don’t have to pay hauling and disposal fees to get rid of the slabs.  Warren Paving gets the construction materials, basically for free.  And the process also benefits the community.

“If we weren’t doing this, that would have been in a landfill somewhere,” Warren said as he pointed to the piles of concrete slabs.  “It’s just great, because we’re recycling 100 percent of it and using it again and we’re leaving the landfills for what they’re supposed to be for. Trash.”

Warren Paving also crushes concrete at its plant in Hattiesburg.  The crushing machines have wheels on them, so if necessary, they can be moved to construction sites.

By Trang Pham-Bui

WLOX- ch 13

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