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A longer-lasting pavement from the 1960s arrives in CT

Stone matrix, or stone mastic, asphalt will be used to repair a section of I91 (above).
Later this month, stone matrix, or stone mastic, asphalt will be used to repair a section of I-95 (above) in Fairfield County. The material has a longer lifespan than traditional asphalt.

A more durable type of pavement that's been around since the 1960s will be used for the first time in Connecticut on a section of I-95 in Fairfield County.

The pavement is called Stone Matrix Asphalt (SMA).

"It is basically a premium mix of asphalt and it's mixed with high quality crushed materials,” Samaia Hernandez, Department of Transportation spokesperson said. “The purpose is to reduce rutting and reduce cracking.”

SMA can last 10 to 15 years, which is about five years longer than traditional asphalt, she said.

It was first developed in Europe before man walked on the moon. Other U.S. states have been using it since the early 90s.

The repaving of I-95 in Greenwich and Stamford between exits 2 and 6 this spring will be the first time Connecticut’s DOT will be using SMA.

The asphalt’s extended durability comes with a cost. These mixtures can range between $6 to $31 more per ton than the asphalt the DOT currently uses, Hernandez said.

But there could be a temporary added benefit, too, she said.

SMA does offer some traffic noise reduction, initially, but Hernandez said it doesn’t last and lessens over time.

The project will cost more than $61 million and is scheduled to be completed by Nov. 30, 2025.

Jennifer Ahrens is a producer for Morning Edition. She spent 20+ years producing TV shows for CNN and ESPN. She joined Connecticut Public Media because it lets her report on her two passions, nature and animals.

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