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Scrap tires are helping fix Michigan’s roads, over 300 miles of rubber modified pavement are in 32 Michigan communities

As road construction projects take place throughout Michigan, over 100 road grants from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) since 1992 have included scrap tires, including rubber surface treatments on over 200 lane-miles. In 2024, at least 70 lane-miles will be added. Lane miles are used to measure the total length and lane count of a given highway or road. One lane mile is one mile of one lane of road.

Installation of rubber modified chip seal on 7 Mile Road in Bay County.

Installation of rubber modified chip seal on 7 Mile Road in Bay County.


Kirsten Clemens, EGLE’s scrap tire coordinator, notes that scrap tires are increasingly being used in road construction projects. “As we all experience road construction projects this summer, it’s good to know that grants are supporting the use of scrap tires in many of these projects,” she said.

By the end of 2024, EGLE grants will have funded over 300 miles of rubber modified pavement across Michigan in 32 communities.

EGLE has partnered with the Michigan Department of Transportation, Michigan State University (MSU), Michigan Technological University (MTU), Lawrence Technological University, county road commissions, and the Minnesota and Alabama tire associations to improve paving, while recycling tires.

Grants have:

  • Provided funding for equipment to support scrap tire processors to recycle tires into material that can be used for roads.
  • Provided funding for specialized paving equipment.
  • Funded and supported scrap tire rubber research with three Michigan Universities (MTU, MSU & Lawrence Tech) and on two national test tracks (NRRA in Minnesota and NCAT in Alabama).
  • Partnered with the County Road Association of Michigan on a 2024 MDOT State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC) grant.  
  • Installed rubber modified asphalt or rubber surface treatment projects on roads in 24 of 83 counties, since 2018.

Current grantees are:

  • Entech
  • MTU
  • Washtenaw County Road Commission
  • Clinton County Road Commission
  • St. Joseph County Road Commission
  • Road Commission of Kalamazoo County

EGLE’s Scrap Tire Program is responsible for overseeing the handling of scrap tires generated in Michigan, cleaning up existing scrap tire piles of 500 or more tires, and expanding the reuse and recycling of scrap tires.

Scrap tires can be hazardous to our environment and the public health of Michigan if not properly managed. Run-off from scrap tire fires can contaminate water and scrap tire sites are an ideal habitat for the breeding of mosquitoes carrying disease such as West Nile Virus.

The grant application period for 2024 will open this summer.