Rubber asphalt used for first time on motorway network

Grant Prior 5 years ago
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A section of the M1 between junctions 23 and 22 near Leicester has been laid with a new surface developed by Tarmac containing recycled tyres.

Martin Bolt, left, of Highways England and Paul Fleetham of Tarmac above the M1 in the East Midlands with some of the rubber granules being trialled in the road surface.
Martin Bolt, left, of Highways England and Paul Fleetham of Tarmac above the M1 in the East Midlands with some of the rubber granules being trialled in the road surface.

The asphalt recycles tyres by adding granulated rubber to the mix.

Trials of the new material were first held on local roads in Coventry earlier this year.

It has now been used on motorways for the first time under trials funded by Highways England.

Around 40 million waste tyres are produced every year in the UK and over 500,000 disused tyres shipped out of the UK each year to be landfilled.

Tarmac estimates that up to 750 waste tyres could be used in every kilometre of road surfaced with the new material.

Corporate Group Leader Martin Bolt, who oversees innovations projects for Highways England in the Midlands, 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, 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.”

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