Stockton Council looks to ‘plastic’ as possible solution to maintenance challenge

Plastic roads are being considered as a possible solution to dealing with some of its highway maintenance challenges as it looks to deal with a £1.6m funding gap in its carriageway budget.

Parts of the UK already use asphalt mixed with waste plastic on some roads – with Cumbria, Newcastle and County Durham seeing polymers laid on some stretches.

Plastic-bitumen composites can be considered to be more hard wearing, mensing the roads could suffer less from rutting and water ingress. Using these plastics also re-uses waste that is set to go to landfill otherwise, reports ITV.

A report from the council’s Place Select Committee showed £3.2m was needed to keep Stockton’s carriageways in their current condition – but less than £1.6m is available in the budget for this year. 

Highways officer Simon Milner said: “It’s with a view to looking at implementing them in terms of climate change and doing our bit for the environment. But it’s also making sure if we do that, the roads stand up to the pressures and the amount of traffic on the local network.”

In 2019, the Department for Transport granted £1.6m to extend a trial on plastic roads in Cumbria involving plastic road construction company MacRebur.

Ingleby Barwick councillor Ken Dixon was one of two members to trigger a review into potholes and surface water flooding across Stockton in response to complaints from residents. 

The pothole and flooding review will look at whether new materials could be used to improve the quality of roads in the borough. 

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