Carolina Journal’s Dan Way reports here on the potential use of coal ash in transportation infrastructure. The “Ward” referred to below is  John Ward, a committee chairman for the American Coal Ash Association and representative of Citizens for Recycling First.

Ward said the American Road and Transportation Builders Association conducted a study a few years ago that found using ash to increase the durability of concrete “saves us over $5.2 billion a year by making concrete roads and bridges last longer.”

Using coal ash reduces the amount of water and energy required to create concrete, and landfill space to store it.

“In a lot of places in the country, the state departments of transportation require the use of it in order to improve the concrete,” he said.

“We do actually require its use in certain projects, particularly bridge decks where there would be a lot of salt, like at the coast, and our divisions essentially from Raleigh west, where we have the salt in the winter time,” said Nicole Meister, spokeswoman at the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Because ash is finer than cement, it fills holes better and protects against salt infiltration and corrosion, Meister said.

“The Federal Highway Administration encourages its use,” Meister said. “Last year we used about 20,000 tons in our construction projects.”

This could be the proverbial “win win” for us all: protect the environment from any possible harm while finding a productive use for the material.