LEWISVILLE (CBS 11 NEWS) – Cobblestone ice and ice-mageddon may be months away, but the North Texas Tollway Authority is preparing now.

The NTTA is doing something it’s never done before and that’s recycling sand.

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(credit: CBS 11 News/Arezow Doost)

(credit: CBS 11 News/Arezow Doost)

“It’s pretty amazing and it’s pretty simple!” says Eric Hemphill, NTTA’s Director of Maintenance.

Crews swept up a mountain of sand filled with trash – some 3 million pounds – after last winter’s ice and snow storms starting in December.

(credit: CBS 11 News/Arezow Doost)

(credit: CBS 11 News/Arezow Doost)

Hemphill came up with the idea of recycling that dirty sand.  After checking around, he found a company in McKinney that could help.

Hemphill says crews brought a big blue machine to where the sand is stored in Lewisville.  Everything gets dumped into the machine.  Trash goes out on one side and clean sand cascades out the other end.

(credit: CBS 11 News/Arezow Doost)

(credit: CBS 11 News/Arezow Doost)

“This is saving us, with this little pilot project, around $60,000,” says Hemphill “… because we don’t have to buy the sand again and we don’t have to pay the dump fees for all that sand.”

Hemphill says that’s 160 trucks that won’t be going to the landfill this year.

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“It’s not only the cost savings, but the environmental aspect of we are not hauling all of these dump truck loads to the landfill,” says Hemphill. “It’s going to stay here right here and we’ll load trucks out of and get back on the roads during a snow and ice event.”

NTTA will have to buy some more sand for this winter, but thanks to this idea not as much.

Hemphill says they are renting the special machine for the week for about $8,000.

(credit: CBS 11 News/Arezow Doost)

(credit: CBS 11 News/Arezow Doost)

CBS 11 also checked with TxDOT which covers highways with sand too about the concept.

A spokesperson says they’ve never heard of the idea, but they are open to it.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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