Recycled and carbon-friendly products have been used where possible in bypass improvement works in Blaby and Market Harborough, according to Leicestershire County Council.
This forms part of a plan for the council to be ‘greener’in its approach to highway maintenance.
Around 5000 recycled tyres have been used in a special asphalt mix used on the A426 Blaby bypass – and the white lines on one side of the carriageway have been marked out using a cold plastic product which is said to last three times longer than the traditional products used.
Highway maintenance work on the A426 Blaby Bypass and the A6 Market Harborough Bypass has been carried out with minimal disruption to motorists. Work at Harborough is now finished and Blaby is nearing completion.
The projects included resurfacing and strengthening parts of the road and ‘green’ materials and carbon friendly techniques were used where possible.
Warm mix and lower energy materials were used to lay the courses of asphalt, instead of the traditional hot materials, saving around 22 tonnes of carbon.
Aggregate Industries have been the principal contractor working on the improvements at Blaby, where a rubber modified asphalt surface which contains 5000 recycled tyres has been used. The special asphalt is supplied by Tarmac and using it is expected to reduce CO2 emissions and means fewer tyres going to landfill. The ‘warm mix’ nature of the product is expected to save 10 tonnes of carbon.
Also at Blaby, new environmentally friendly road markings are being trialled. The new product, supplied by MEON, has been installed northbound on the bypass while the southbound carriageway has been marked with traditional thermoplastic road markings, meaning that a direct comparison can be made on the wear and tear of both products.
The trial is in line with the council’s pledge to become a carbon neutral council by 2030 and to achieve ‘net zero’ across the county by 2045 – five years sooner than the Government target.
A third bypass is next in line for improvements, with work due to begin on the A47 Dodwell’s Road/Normandy Way Hinckley Bypass in the early summer.
Across all three bypass projects, Leicestershire County Council are saving a total of 32 tonnes of carbon, the equivalent to the emissions generated by travelling over 165,000 miles in a standard car.
The improvements involve resurfacing these roads and have been carried out using £5m of cash from the ‘challenge fund’ allocated by the Department of Transport to assist with Covid-19 recovery.
It is not just the new products which are helping to cut emissions; all of the bituminous material removed from the carriageway construction is to be recycled elsewhere. The base asphalt being used contains 25 per cent recycled asphalt and the surface layer 10 per cent.
The three projects will together generate over 21,000 tonnes of carriageway material available for recycling and the new materials used on the schemes will incorporate approx. 3,700 tonnes of recycled material. Using recycled and carbon friendly components for our road improvements emphasises our commitment to improving the environment.
“Work on both the Blaby and Harborough bypasses is already almost completed with minimal disruption to motorists and I am delighted to see the environmentally-friendly innovations used in this project,” said Councillor Trevor Pendleton, cabinet member for highways and transport.