Highways England trials rubber asphalt

08/08/2019
Dominic Browne

Highways England is funding trials into Tarmac's new asphalt mix, which uses crumb rubber from recycled tyres.

A section of road between junctions 23 and 22 on the southbound carriageway of the M1 near Leicester has been laid with the new surface.

Some 40 million waste tyres are produced every year in the UK and over 500,000 disused tyres shipped out of the UK each year - often to the Middle East and Asia - to be landfilled, as EU rules ban the disposal of tyres in landfill sites, Highways England said.

There are over seven million tyres filling one Kuwaiti landfill site which is so vast that the ‘tyre graveyard’ is now visible from space, Highways England said.

The trial on the M1 will test the effective durability of the road surface on a highly trafficked network.

Corporate group leader Martin Bolt, who oversees innovations projects for Highways England in the Midlands, said: 'Highways England is committed to investing in innovation to help us meet the economic, environmental and efficiency challenges we face in our changing world and also to delivering environment improvements as we strive to ensure our road network works more harmoniously with its surroundings.

'This trial could well be the first step to rapidly reducing the number of tyres piling up in the UK and beyond. The economic and environmental potential of this new asphalt is significant and we are delighted to be working with Tarmac in this trial.'

Paul Fleetham, managing director of Tarmac, added: 'Technical innovation has a key role to play in improving the environmental performance of our roads. As a previously overlooked waste stream, used tyres offer a significant opportunity to unlock the benefits of a circular economy.

'There has been a very positive response to our rubberised asphalt since the first local authority trial was announced in May and we’re very pleased to be working with Highways England to explore its potential to support the sustainability of the strategic road network.'

Picture shows Martin Bolt, left, and Paul Fleetham above the M1 in the East Midlands with some of the rubber granules being trialled in the road surface

 

 

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