After Ten Years, a Community Gets a Road

It may have only been a ¼ mile long asphalt road, but for the members of a Leesburg, FL community, it was a Christmas miracle.

For over 10 years, a tiny neighborhood in Leesburg has had to contend with driving to and from their homes using a muddy, pothole-ridden dirt road. This past December they were finally able to replace the road with an asphalt paved one. The community is so happy with the change, they are planning a “road party” to celebrate it. Come spring, they are looking forward to landscaping it with native plants that thrive in the lush Central Florida environment.

It was the perseverance of the president of the Homeowners’ Association of Village of Lake Pointe, Steven Metheny, that brought the road to Leesburg. But it took a lot of time, effort and money to make it happen. A string of legal issues were the first obstacles. A road was originally intended for the neighborhood, but plans fell through when the developer went bankrupt.

Homeowners had been using the neighborhood’s construction entrance. While this was the de facto road, there was another wrinkle – it actually ran across the backyard of one of the residents. The house it belonged to had actually been located incorrectly on its plot. Metheny pooled the money required – all $9,500 of it – from the dues collected from the home owners’ association.

Then the road itself had to be paid for. Fortunately, the Leesburg city government stepped in with funding of $30,000 for the asphalt paving.



“That was a great gift,” Metheny said. “The city was gracious and fantastic in helping us in many different ways, which involved No. 1, starting with the city commission to get the vote and approval for the money to be allocated for this project and to work with public works department. It has been a challenge for many, many years, but this was a huge success for our community.”

But credit is also due to Metheny, who had to consult with innumerable lawyers and who coordinated with all the homeowners in the area to sign legal documents to facilitate the land purchase. He had to literally go house to house to get all the signatures on the required documents. In the words of Jay Evan, City Manager of Leesburg, “Were not for the efforts of Steven Metheny, I don’t know if it would have happened.”

It was just ¼ of a mile, but a paved road has made a huge difference to this community.

Residents of the city of Vancouver, Canada have ambitions for theirs to become the greenest city in the world by 2020. One way to reach their goal: innovations in asphalt for commercial paving. Not only is the asphalt made partially from recycled plastic material, but its installation also saves energy. The new paving material is actually a mix of asphalt and a specially derived wax obtained from consumer plastics. This new mix has been named ‘warm mix’ because it can be manufactured and transported at much lower temperatures than its traditional counterpart. It requires an optimum temperature of 250°F  instead of the 320° F required by traditional asphalt, which results in an energy savings of about 20%.

The technology, which originated in Europe in the 1990’s, is today produced by GreenMantra Technologies, a company headquartered in Toronto.  While it has been used elsewhere successfully, the Canadian roads are the first to use recycled consumer plastics in the mix. In addition to removing non bio-degradables from landfills, the new asphalt also makes longer lasting roads. This is one of the many reasons why using post-consumer plastic in making roads may turn out to be hugely beneficial. Not only does it save energy, but it also reuses plastic in the best possible manner. A smart idea from a city on its way to become the greenest in the world.


Technology is changing roads as we know them. In fact, one day simple asphalt roads may be a thing of the past.


A Dutch design firm, Studio Roosegaard, is working on a new “smart road” with a number of safety and energy-saving innovations. The initial version of the road is set to debut this year. Here are some features that it will eventually have, perhaps coming someday to a road near you.

Signalling Icy Roads Ahead

In the past, most road safety innovations were applied to motor vehicles. As a result, driving a vehicle today is far safer than it was some decades ago. But there are still improvements that can be made in road paving technology to prevent accidents. The smart road’s paving will include temperature-sensitive paint that can warn drivers of icy conditions. The paint would shine in both daytime and nighttime, giving enough warning to the drivers about the condition of the road.  In regions where the roads become coated with hard-to-see black ice, this could be a lifesaver.

Smart Lighting

The “smart roads” will have special lights installed that are activated by the motion of oncoming vehicles. This would eliminate the need for having the lights on throughout the night and therefore save a great amount of energy. Another plan is for lights to use wind energy for as a power source.

Induction Lanes

While it may sound a little like something out of a sci-fi movie, Studio Roosegaard is also developing an “induction priority lane” which will be able to charge electric cars as they drive on it with the use of magnetic fields in the pavement.

The technology will be tested later this year in the Netherlands, but if it works, could be implemented in countries worldwide over the next decade.