Mar 31, 2010

Science Scene - Rubber Sidewalks

Concrete sidewalks can make a walk around the neighborhood a pleasant experience, unless the sidewalks are cracked, broken and lifted by tree roots. Then they become dangerous to walk on. Sidewalk repairs require intensive labor, money and sometimes the removal of trees and their invasive roots, but with Terrewalks trees, money and labor are saved.

Terrewalks sidewalks are a new and improved version of Rubbersidewalks which are sidewalks panels made of recycled tires, invented by Richard Valeriano and sold at Rubbersidewalks, Inc, a company founded by Lindsey Smith in 2001. Terrewalks sidealks are "made of 100% recycled tire rubber and waste plastic, and organic colorant then molded under compression". The rubber surface of this innovative sidewalk material is hard enough to walk on, but gentler on the knees then concrete. It is also hard enough to accommodate bike, skating, other vehicle traffic and durable to withstand harsh weather. It even looks like concrete.

Because Terrewalks sidewalks consist of interlocking panels they are easier to maintain then concrete sidewalks. For example, if a panel is damaged for whatever reason the panel can be removed and quickly replaced by another panel, unlike concrete, which must be completely broken up, taken away and then replaced. Initially Terrewalks is more expensive to purchase then concrete, but since it requires less repair and less maintenance, over time it is more cost effective to purchase Terrewalks.

Terrewalks allows trees to grow healthy and strong too. At two inches thick the Terrewalks panels are not as thick as traditional concrete and are not placed as far down in the ground as concrete. This give tree roots room to grow. The panels flexiblity also accommodate for root growth and because water can seep into the seams between the panels the roots wont grow thirsty either.