Infrared technology to help make repairs more sustainable

Dominic Browne

VolkerHighways and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead have trialled the use of 'infrared technology' for repairing defects in pavements and roads.

Infrared technology is used to heat the existing asphalt without burning the surface. The asphalt can then be reworked using hand tools and reused before a rejuvenation and fresh material is added to the mix as required, VolkerHighways said.

The technique was used on the north footway of the A30 London Road, Sunningdale, from Evergreen to Devenish Road, and the repair recycled the existing material.

When new material is added it is heated at 170 degrees celsius and as a result the materials fuse together. This eliminates the potential risks associated with ‘cold’ joints and the potential failure of the adjacent pavement, Volker said.

The repair is finished when the material in the area is reprofiled and compacted so that it is level.

VolkerHighways said the trial was a 'great success' and would be added to the Royal Borough’s established range of road treatment options, helping to reduce the carbon footprints of both organisations.

Cllr Gerry Clark, cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, said: 'The Royal Borough is committed to exploring alternative, more sustainable and efficient ways to keep our highways in good working order and the benefits of this technology are far-reaching.

'This process is more energy-efficient, is less labour intensive, resulting in greater productivity, and reduces the need for excavation, making it safer and easier for access requirements.

'It is also more environmentally friendly, with zero materials waste and delivers carbon savings compared to traditional construction. There are also benefits for residents, with less noise and vibration, no dust and fewer people working on site.”

Kunle Kolaru, operations director for VolkerHighways, said: 'As part of the ongoing focus on sustainability, VolkerHighways and the council teamed up to explore how new, environmentally-friendly initiatives can be employed around the borough.

'This has already included trialling a new electric road sweeper in Windsor, the first of its kind to be commercially available in the country, to accompany the three fully electric vans already in use for highway inspections. We are also recycling material gathered during gully cleansing so that it can be repurposed. In addition, we completed patching repairs on manhole covers on Castle Hill roundabout in Maidenhead, as part of an innovative mastic asphalt repair system trial.'

These road innovations support the council’s commitment to its Environment and Climate Strategy, and its target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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