New Highways England tool will ‘reduce road disruption’ and save money

New Highways England tool will ‘reduce road disruption’ and save money

04/12/2021

Highways England CEO explains new roadwork speed plans

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Highways England said a new type of material which acts as an anti-ageing cream could extend the life of road surfaces for years, ensuring drivers can drive on better roads for longer. England’s motorways and major roads are expected to be resurfaced every 10 to 12 years but this could now be extended.

The mix is held together by a new bitumen – a sticky, viscous and waterproof substance often used in roofing. 

The solution ensures the roads oxides more slowly meaning the road surface can stay flexible for longer.

Mike Wilson, Highways England’s chief Highways engineer said “We’re always looking for innovative ways to help us keep England’s motorways and major A-roads in good condition.

“The ultimate priority for us is safety so we invest in new technology and materials to keep those using the roads safe.

“Longer lasting roads means fewer roadworks, less disruption for motorists and a more sustainable network for everyone.”

The new anti-ageing roads are being put together by partners Tarmac and Titak.

A section of dual carriageway in Northamptonshire has become the first road in the country to be resurfaced with the new material.

The A43 near Silverstone is one of the most popular roads in the county and is used extensively each year for the British Grand Prix.

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Highways England said more durable road surfaces which require fewer repairs could lead to less money being spent on maintenance.

They said the new anti-ageing roads could also offer lower carbon emissions caused by maintenance work and would lead to less disruption to motorists.

Brian Kent, technical director at Tarmac has confirmed the new product would offer “improved value for money”.

He said: “As part of our corporate commitment to sustainability, boosting efficiencies and delivering improved whole life performance across the network, we’re always pushing to introduce any new technology or innovation that can further improve the durability of the roads we maintain.

“What we have in this case is essentially an anti-ageing cream for roads – just as these products are designed to reduce and prevent the signs of fine lines and overall ageing of the skin, the new bitumen being trialled on the A43 will protect the road surface.

“It not only has the potential to offer improved value for money to the public purse, but it also contains properties to increase the overall lifespan of roads.

“Through preventing cracks to the surface of the road caused by elements such as air and water, the longer life bitumen has the ability to reduce disruption, deliver long-term carbon savings and importantly help network operators to better manage their assets.”

The new material has previously been tested in the Total’s laboratory in Bedfordshire.

Sections of roads in the Netherlands and Germany have also started using the product.

However, the current A43 trial is the first tie it will be used with high traffic levels in the UK.

Rick Ashton, market development manager at Total said: “Our key focus is sustainability through durability. These long-life binders will ultimately lead towards our vision of net-zero carbon by 2050 by reducing roadworks, saving manufacturing, transport and installation energy and the associated emissions.

“This trial paves the way for enhanced highways asset management and predictive deterioration modelling for Highways England.”

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