- George Poland
New ‘anti-ageing’ material used to resurface UK carriageway
A small section of dual carriageway in Northamptonshire has become the first in the UK to be resurfaced with an ‘anti-ageing’ material that has been designed to make roads last longer.
Usually roads in the UK will get resurfaced once every 12 years. A combination of water, sun and air along with heavy traffic gradually erodes surfaces, creating cracks and potholes.
The chief highways engineer of highways England, Mike Wilson, said that “we’re always looking for innovative ways to help us keep England’s motorways and major A-roads in good condition”, and that “longer lasting roads means fewer roadworks, less disruption for motorists and a more sustainable network for everyone”.
The new asphalt mix was used on a busy section of the A43, with both Tarmac and Total joining forces with Highways England to complete the job.
The mix is held together by a new bitumen called ‘Styrelf Long Life’ which is more resistant to the elements with its ability to oxidise more slowly – this keeps the surface flexible for longer.
Better roads will require fewer repairs, meaning less money is spent and roads will be left undisrupted allowing for better traffic flow and lower carbon emissions.
Estimates suggest that getting the asphalt that is needed to resurface a mile of single-lane carriageway – without factoring the transport that will travel to work on it – could produce up to 26.5 tonnes of C02.
However, if roads lasted longer and building companies managed to avoid two sets of resurfacing across a 60-year period, then the reduction in asphalt production on its own could save the equivalent of the CO2 produced by an average car driven for more than 27,000 miles.