News Release

Office of Public Affairs

For Immediate Release:  August 1, 2019
Release #2019-17
Media Contact: Syd Fong
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CalRecycle Awards $158,000 to Help Stabilize Failing Road in Santa Barbara County

SACRAMENTO – With the help of a California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery grant, Santa Barbara County just completed a road stabilization project using 81,000 recycled tires. Tire-derived aggregate, made from 810 tons of California waste tires, was used to backfill a retaining wall composed of large, rock-filled welded wire baskets (called gabions) to replace failed soil and provide lateral support to the reconstructed embankment. This is the first infrastructure project in California to use TDA material in this type of application. 

“This CalRecycle grant project is a new model for how communities can transform recycled waste tires into a valuable resource to improve local infrastructure and protect public safety,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said.  “This has been a collective effort with the cooperation of Santa Barbara County to be part of this first-of-its-kind project. We hope this is the first of many statewide projects that will make use of this new civil engineering technique.”

“We want to thank CalRecycle for this invaluable program that provides funding and an innovative environmental solution for local agency problems,” said Scott McGolpin, Santa Barbara County Public Works Director. “The TDA grant program helped us to be cost-effective in how we improved Ortega Ridge Road, while at the same time maximizing landfill space by diverting over 80,000 tires from our landfills.“

Fast Facts

  • CalRecycle awarded Santa Barbara County $158,241 in Tire-Derived Aggregate Grant Program funds in March 2018 to purchase the TDA material.  
  • The University of California San Diego conducted research on the road repair technique (dubbed by CalRecycle engineers as Mechanically Stabilized TDA), which provided the engineering data for the project design. 
  • Researchers determined that TDA is seismically safe for a retaining wall and road repairs and it will not degrade due to poor underlying soils or saturated conditions.
  • CalRecycle’s Engineering Services contractor, GHD Services, assisted with the design and construction oversight of the pilot project. 
  • The project consists of a 225-foot section of Ortega Ridge Road in Summerland (unincorporated Santa Barbara County)

Tire-Derived Aggregate Grant Program

CalRecycle’s Tire-Derived Aggregate Grant Program supports projects that use recycled waste tires in place of conventional construction material for civil engineering applications such as retaining wall backfill, landslide stabilization, vibration mitigation, and various landfill uses. The unique engineering properties of shredded waste tires allow for free-draining, lightweight, and typically less expensive solutions for these types of projects.

Since 2011, CalRecycle has awarded $5,582,126 in TDA grants to 28 projects statewide.  

Grants are funded through a portion of the $1.75 fee consumers pay on each new tire purchased in California. For more information about CalRecycle’s waste tire management grants, including application criteria and maximum award amounts, see our Tire Recycling, Cleanup, and Enforcement Grants webpage.

Get direct notifications about funding availability, applicant and project eligibility, and application due dates by joining CalRecycle’s Tire-Derived Aggregate listserv.

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CalRecycle provides oversight of California solid waste handling and recycling programs to protect human health, develop sustainable solutions that conserve resources, and reduce greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.