Lethbridge College grads recognized for project aimed at greener roads

Click to play video: 'Former Lethbridge College students recognized for capstone project'
Former Lethbridge College students recognized for capstone project
WATCH ABOVE: A trio of Lethbridge College graduates have received provincial recognition for an innovative project completed last year. Danica Ferris has more – Jun 22, 2021

A trio of former Lethbridge College students are being recognized for a capstone project centering on a sustainable idea: what if the tires on our cars could eventually be recycled into the roads they previously rolled on?

Amy Gregorchuk, Liudmyla Wagner and Dan Mitchell graduated from Lethbridge College’s civil engineering technology program last year, but this month, the group was named a finalist for the Capstone Project of the Year Award by the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET).

Gregorchuk said her team started with the goal of finding a more environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional asphalt, while keeping used tires out of landfills.

“Examining the effects that crumb rubber would have on hot mix asphalt,” Gregorchuk summarized.

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“Ultimately, we just wanted to see how it would affect the sustainability and the characteristics within hot mix asphalt.”

According to ASET, the project was the first time in Lethbridge College history that students had examined such an idea.

Gregorchuk believes the idea could result in more cost-effective roads in the long run.

“Research in the United States has shown with similar tests — not quite the exact same, but some of their tests with rubber in their asphalt — that they can actually be longer-lasting, they can have less rutting and reduce maintenance overall,” she said.

The project by Gregorchuk, Wagner and Mitchell was chosen by the college to be nominated for the ASET award; a prize that began in 2017 after ASET was continually impressed with the quality of projects coming out of post-secondary institutions in Alberta.

“That combination of intelligence, innovation and ingenuity that leads to all kinds of remarkable things across this province,” said Barry Cavanaugh, CEO of ASET.

Gregorchuk said the recognition as a finalist is being appreciated on multiple levels, including as a female.

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“I’ve kind of been in male-dominated positions my whole life,” she said.

“In our program at Lethbridge College, there was actually both Liudmyla and I were the two women within our course. So the both of us kind of stuck together (and) stuck it out. We worked really hard.”

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On Monday, ASET announced the winner of this year’s award: a team from Red Deer College.

Lethbridge College, NAIT, SAIT and Red Deer College are eligible to submit the top two capstone projects completed each year at their schools by engineering technology students. From those eight maximum submissions, the ASET awards committee names a winner.

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