Work completed on UK’s first road using ‘plastic waste’

Work has been completed on the UK’s first ever highway made from plastic waste in Carlisle.

Cumbria County Council is one of just eight local authorities in the country to be selected as part of ADEPT’s ‘Live Lab’ areas to carry out real world tests using new highways technology and methods on local roads.

Cumbria County Council is investing approximately £150,000 in a resurfacing scheme using a recycled plastic waste product which has been developed by local asphalt specialists MacRebur: the plastic road company.

The works, carried out by the council’s contractor Hanson, involved replacing a worn-out section of a carriageway with a brand new surface and is designed to make journeys ‘smoother and safer.’

The works on Lowther Street in Carlisle cover just over 3,000 square metres of the road network and an estimated 238,958 single use plastic bags have been saved from landfill.

The mixture used features a bitumen substitute that can be used in the standard asphalt mix and the plastic waste is converted into pellets.

Trials of the roads first started in January 2019 and the Department of Transport has since invested £1.6m to extend the use of plastic roads in Cumbria as part of the ADEPT Smart Places Live Labs programme to invest in trialling the sustainability and suitability of using waste plastic additives in highway construction.

Councillor Keith Little, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for Highways, said: “The county council is investing around £150,000 in resurfacing works on Lowther Street which will make journeys smoother and safer for drivers. I’m pleased this scheme involves the use of plastic waste material which provides a more sustainable solution for road resurfacing. Cumbria County Council is leading the way in trialling plastic roads and there is worldwide interest in this ground-breaking material.”

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