VicRoads on the front foot
A road maintenance blitz from September 2020 to June last year saw VicRoads-maintained roads incorporate more than 66,700 tonnes of recycled materials over 2430km of Victoria’s arterial road network.
That approach hasn’t slowed, with 4020 tonnes of glass, plastic and concrete/bricks recycled into the road network in January of this year alone.
A Department of Transport spokesperson says the recycled roads are demonstrably better.
"We're doing our part for the environment by taking waste and giving it a new purpose."
"We're also constantly looking at ways we can improve our basic roadbuilding and repair activities by ensuring that all of our works meet or exceed industry standards."
The materials mix ranges from rubber from old tyres, to glass, plastic bags, PET bottles, printer cartridges and building supplies such as concrete and bricks sourced from demolition sites, along with second-hand asphalt torn up during maintenance programmes.
VicRoads notes that recycled roads typically enjoy more longevity than conventional bitumen.
It says that “performance testing of a Victorian-made asphalt mix containing the equivalent of approximately one million recycled glass bottles, 746,000 plastic bags, 420 tonne of reclaimed asphalt and 21,800 printer cartridges at a site on the Hume Highway near Euroa has shown a significant improvement in the longevity of asphalt, increasing its resistance to cracking and enabling it to withstand heavy traffic for longer than traditional road surfaces”.
Given the environmental and practical advantages of recycled roads, it isn’t hard to see why similar approaches are being adopted nationally and around the globe.
VicRoads also says that freeway upgrades involving recycled material includes the Mordialloc Freeway, where the world's first 75 per cent recycled plastic noise walls were installed, and the M80 Freeway Upgrade, which is the first Victorian road project to include recycled content in every layer of the road pavement.
“Recently, more than two tonnes of recycled plastic has been used to resurface a section of the Bass Highway Wonthaggi, while an asphalt mix containing tonnes of crushed glass will be used to repair a section of the Princes Highway near Warrnambool in December”.
Victorian Government policy requires bidders to optimise their use of recycled and reused content and applies to all transport projects from the start of this year.