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St. Lawrence highway department turns to low-cost plastic

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CANTON — The St. Lawrence County Highway Department is going green to repair its culverts and bridges.

“We're trying to make things last longer,” Superintendent Toby W. Bogart said.

The county has tested recycled-plastic construction material called Struxure made by Axion International Holdings, New Providence, N.J., on a box culvert as an alternative to stay-in-place concrete forms.

The product is made from type 2 plastics that can overcrowd landfills.

“It's basically recycled soda bottles,” Mr. Bogart said. “It's structural grade, so it's self-supporting.”

The Highway Department liked the material's performance and has ordered more.

“We decided to go a little bigger,” Mr. Bogart said. “We're going to be using it on a bridge on the Dean Road in the town of Clare.”

The order for 6-by-24-inch tongue and groove boards will be used to repair and restore the bridge decking.

That project will remove 30,000 pounds of plastic from the landfill stream, according to a company release.

Mr. Bogart estimated the repair will cost the county two-thirds of what it would have if traditional materials were used.

The county also plans to use Axion products on two more bridge projects in the future.

“It's a good investment for us because Struxure is impervious to water and salt, so it doesn't go through the wear and tear that traditional materials do over time,” Mr. Bogart said.

“That means, once it's in, there will be significantly less maintenance as compared with traditional construction materials. The ease and simplicity of working with the material also saves time during construction, allowing for shorter road closures,” he said.

Axion also makes Ecotrax composite rail products.

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