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Civils Industry News Update August 2019

Posted by: Melonie Debenham
Industry News

M1 utilises recycled rubber & plastic used London cycle lane

Highways England is trialing a new road surface on the M1 using recycled tyres. A section of road between junctions 23 to 22 on the southbound carriageway of the M1 near Leicester has been laid with the new surface which has been developed by Tarmac.

Highways England is funding trials into the new asphalt mix to see if this environmentally-sound innovation could be the way forward for future road surfaces.

Using waste tyres in roads has both economic and environmental benefits. Over 40 million waste tyres are produced every year in the UK, and over 500,000 disused tyres are shipped out of the UK each year to be landfilled.

Tarmac will be the first in the UK to have developed an asphalt technology which recycles tyres by adding granulated rubber to the mix. The company estimates that up to 750 waste tyres could be used in every kilometre of road surfaced with the new material, depending on the thickness of the road. The M1 trial will test the effective durability of the road surface on a highly trafficked network.

Martin Bolt, Highways England corporate group leader, said: “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, said: “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.”

Meanwhile, Thames Water has re-opened a London cycle route closed for almost a decade while also managing to prevent more than a million plastic bags going to landfill.

Working with partner Balfour Beatty, the water company has spent the last 18 months upgrading the Victorian sewers running through the Waterworks Bridge in Stratford. 

Once completed, efforts focused on re-surfacing the route that runs over the bridge and has been shut since work started on regenerating the area for the Olympics.

For the first time on a cycle lane in the UK, a special ‘waste plastic asphalt’ has been used. Part of the bitumen normally used has been replaced with the equivalent of 1.1 million plastic bags, which would have otherwise gone to landfill.

John McKay, Balfour Beatty's senior construction manager for the works, said: “The sustainable methods we’ve used on the project mean we’d already saved 400 tonnes of carbon emissions and being able to use this waste plastic surface is the icing on the cake. It’s been fantastic to work with the local community to show them what we’ve been doing for the last 18 months and now they can benefit once more from the cycle route.”

The waste plastic asphalt was provided by MacRebur, which developed and patented the technique to help tackle the problem of waste plastic in our environment and oceans.

MacRebur CEO Toby McCartney said: “We are delighted our product is being used for this high-profile project, helping us to prevent waste plastic from being dumped or burned. The flexible properties of plastic also mean this cycle lane will be able to cope better with changes in temperature, reducing cracks and potholes. It can also be recycled at the end of its life.” Full stories here & here

Navartis are specialist recruiters working on the Civil Engineering industry, placing candidates into prestigious highways and road projects. If you're looking for your next freelance or permanent role visit our Civils jobs page or contact us here.

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