Ford Motor Co. is investing $13 million to upgrade the high-speed test track at its Michigan Proving Ground in Romeo, MI.

The overhaul will increase vehicle-quality testing capabilities by improving surface conditions and the water-drainage system.

In keeping with its environmentally friendly stance, Ford sought out a construction company that would utilize a “green” approach in conducting the renovations, the auto maker says.

The project is being spearheaded by Mark Mikolaiczik, MPG site manager, who selected Angelo Iafrate Construction Co. of Warren, MI, to reconstruct the 52-year-old, 5-mile (8-km) track.

The company was chosen for its innovative proposal that would prevent 130,000 tons (118,000 t) of debris from ending up in a landfill by reusing nearly all the material, sending whatever cannot be used to a recycling center.

Phase One of the project, already under way, involves demolishing the old track and transporting the pieces to an onsite crusher, where the asphalt and concrete are recycled into an aggregate that is appropriately sized for road construction.

Once the underlying subgrade is exposed, improvements will be made to increase the cross-slope of the track to enhance drainage. The recycled aggregate will be transported back to the track, where it will be laid out 8-ins. (20-cm) thick and compacted in place with four layers of asphalt.

The bottom two layers will contain 40% recycled asphalt pavement (RAP), the maximum amount allowed under Michigan Department of Transportation guidelines, Ford says.

The third layer will contain 25% RAP, while the fourth will be a virgin mix to ensure a quality surface.

Meanwhile, the 20,420-ft. (6,224-m) guardrail is being unbolted and inspected to determine which portions can be reinstalled. Unusable steel beams will be recycled and wood posts mulched.

“Between the 130,000 tons of asphalt and concrete and the miles of guardrail, we’re reusing and recycling around 200,000 cu.-yds. (15,292 cu-m) of material that would have ended up in a landfill,” says Scott Redmon, MPG development enginee.”That’s the equivalent of a 12-story building on a 1-acre (0.4 ha) footprint.”

The overall environmental approach will saves Ford $12 million and result in a new testing area, Mikolaiczik says.

“Ordinarily, all of the asphalt millings from the demolition process would have to be cleaned up and disposed at the end of the job,” he says. “But for essentially no cost, we’ll leave those millings in place and use it for vehicle-dynamics testing.”

Because materials are recycled and reused, construction will take less time than if new materials were used, Ford says, noting the track is expected to open in the fall.