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Missouri Department of Transportation

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MoDOT News Release 

For more information, contact Todd Bennett, (573) 751-1045 or Sally Oxenhandler, (573) 751-7456.

October 10, 2007 12:00 AM
MoDOT Testing Soy Stripes

JEFFERSON CITY - Are highways and soybeans a good fit? That's what the Missouri Department of Transportation is trying to find out.

MoDOT is testing four types of yellow and white soy-based paint that contain varying amounts of soybean oil to see how they work for highway striping. The soy-based paint is made by using the same raw materials and processing techniques as traditional, water-based paint except the soybean oil replaces some of the petroleum ingredients. Soy paint is considered to be more environmentally friendly than other paints because it's made from soybeans, a renewable agricultural crop that is plentiful in Missouri.

The 12-foot test stripes, which are located on Route 63 just north of Jefferson City, run across the roadway - from the shoulder to the center stripe. That way, the paint can be tested for how well it sticks to the ground and holds up against tire wear. MoDOT will also be looking to see how the paint withstands the ultimate test: snowplow blades.

"Snowplows are the Achilles heel of any highway paint," said Todd Bennett, MoDOT's chemical laboratory director. "As we monitor the wear and tear of the paint over the next year, we'll especially be looking to see how durable it is in winter weather."

MoDOT has been working with the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council to test the paint, which was developed by Cargill.

"Missouri soybean farmers are pleased to work with MoDOT and our industrial partners to find new ways for soybeans to be used," said Dale R. Ludwig, the council's Executive Director/CEO. "Finding new uses for soybeans is good for the rural economy and the environment."

The state transportation department typically buys about 1.5 million gallons of water-based paint a year. Missouri, which ranks seventh in the nation in soybean production, last year produced more than 194 million bushels of soybeans valued at $1.2 billion.

Editor's note: Downloadable sound bites from Todd Bennett and a photo of the soy-based paint stripes can be found at http://www.modot.org/newsroom/index.htm.

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