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Author Topic: Explaining the Red Color to Some of Wyoming's Asphalt Highways  (Read 2087 times)

andy3175

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Explaining the Red Color to Some of Wyoming's Asphalt Highways
« on: October 01, 2016, 11:06:02 PM »

I have noticed the red color to some of Wyoming's roads, especially along I-90 in northeastern Wyoming. Here is brief explanation of how some of the roads have that red color ...

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/traffic/driving-you-crazy/driving-you-crazy-does-the-red-pavement-on-wyoming-highways-make-the-road-safer

Quote
I was on US Highway 18/85, north of the small town of Lusk. Not only were the travel lanes red, but the middle of the road was black where the double yellow line is and a rumble strip was added. The white lines on the shoulder were also painted on blacktop with a rumble strip. ...

Jeff Goetz, Wyoming DOT District 2 public relations specialist, told me the unique look to the highway is not as exciting as I hoped it would be. “The aggregate used in the chip seal looks to have a high concentration of scoria rock in it which gives it the red color. Crews then came back in and milled the centerline for the rumble strips. Once the rumble strips are milled, they'll go over the top with a sealer. That's the dark black. Then they'll stripe over the top,” said Goetz.

You might know scoria by its more common name, lava rock. It is an extremely vesicular basaltic lava with very small vesicles and very lightweight. You can find scoria all over North America. The red variety is commonly used as landscaping rock at Taco Bell. There are many other sections of highways and interstates that are red throughout Wyoming.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Explaining the Red Color to Some of Wyoming's Asphalt Highways
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2016, 11:19:16 PM »

Funny, I noticed the same thing around Lusk on US 18 and 85 when I was out there in June.  CA 62, US 95, and a lot of the Mojave Preserve area roads have the same tinge of color.  I want to say it was Coatimundi or Sparker who found the source to be a quarry near Eagle Mountain that was used for asphalt.

triplemultiplex

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Re: Explaining the Red Color to Some of Wyoming's Asphalt Highways
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2016, 01:19:14 PM »

The same phenomenon exists in many places with red colored bedrock.  They make the aggregate out of it and it weathers a nice red color.  Usually they are sandstones from the Triassic or the Tertiary out west.

It's the same thing that happens in areas where it's all limestone and the asphalt weathers to a very light grey.

The Lake Superior region sometimes has this red asphalt effect because of the large amount of red clay mixed in with the glacial till in the area.  In this case, though, the iron ultimately comes from some of the rock layers they mine for iron ore up there in MN, WI & MI.
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Jbte

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Re: Explaining the Red Color to Some of Wyoming's Asphalt Highways
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2016, 01:44:09 PM »

Side of question, what are the wooden planks (like tall fences) along many routes in Wyoming? those are in isolated areas such as grasslands, some are apart from each with gaps.

I have seen the red pavement in Montana as well but can't remember exactly where.
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andy3175

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Re: Explaining the Red Color to Some of Wyoming's Asphalt Highways
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2016, 12:37:20 AM »

Side of question, what are the wooden planks (like tall fences) along many routes in Wyoming? those are in isolated areas such as grasslands, some are apart from each with gaps.

Those are probably snow fences. Here is a brief primer on snow fences in Wyoming:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2013/08/01/snow_fences_how_do_they_work_what_are_they_where_did_they_come_from_photos.html
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roadfro

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Re: Explaining the Red Color to Some of Wyoming's Asphalt Highways
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2016, 03:50:30 PM »

Side of question, what are the wooden planks (like tall fences) along many routes in Wyoming? those are in isolated areas such as grasslands, some are apart from each with gaps.

Those are probably snow fences. Here is a brief primer on snow fences in Wyoming:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2013/08/01/snow_fences_how_do_they_work_what_are_they_where_did_they_come_from_photos.html
And that's the new thing I learned for today! Very interesting. Thanks for sharing this article.
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SD Mapman

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Re: Explaining the Red Color to Some of Wyoming's Asphalt Highways
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2016, 08:54:59 PM »

Side of question, what are the wooden planks (like tall fences) along many routes in Wyoming? those are in isolated areas such as grasslands, some are apart from each with gaps.

Those are probably snow fences. Here is a brief primer on snow fences in Wyoming:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2013/08/01/snow_fences_how_do_they_work_what_are_they_where_did_they_come_from_photos.html
And that's the new thing I learned for today! Very interesting. Thanks for sharing this article.
I guess the "Wyoming snow fence" hasn't made it far afield then...

On the "red road" note, the chip material could also be from the Spearfish shale formation (closer to the Black Hills area). An interesting note (even though this isn't in Wyoming) is that during the resurfacing of I-90 in SD from the border to Spearfish, they used two quarries for asphalt production. One was up at about 4000 feet in the Wyoming Black Hills south of Beulah digging in the red Spearfish shale (so this relates partially to WY) and the other was out at about 3400 feet on the SD prairie digging into some other formation (hey, I'm not a geologist). Now, when they paved using asphalt from the WY quarry as opposed to the SD quarry, the asphalt itself looked reddish-black because of the red base rock (so this wasn't even a chipseal and the road looked red).
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Rothman

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Re: Explaining the Red Color to Some of Wyoming's Asphalt Highways
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2016, 11:55:10 AM »

In southeastern Idaho, lava rock is used in their snow melt mixture (or at least, it was when I lived in the area in the early 1990s).  Not only were the roads red-tinged, but the cars ended up with red gunk on them, too.

However, the red rock did not eat away at cars like road salt does.
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