The journey towards net-zero highways has been accelerated by Leicestershire County Council through the use of recycled and carbon-friendly products on the area’s bypass improvements.
Leicestershire County Council has used around 5000 recycled tyres 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 that lasts three times longer than the traditional products previously used.
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, the principal contractor working on the improvements, used a rubber modified asphalt surface which contains the recycled tyres. The special asphalt is supplied by Tarmac and saves 10 tonnes of carbon, as well as reducing the number of tyres going to landfill.
The new environmentally friendly road markings being trialled, supplied by MEON, has been installed northbound on the bypass while the southbound carriageway has been marked with traditional thermoplastic road markings, allowing for a direct comparison of wear and tear.
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.
Across its 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.
Councillor Trevor Pendleton, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “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.”