New road surface is set to cut emissions

30 April 2021 | Muriel Cozier

‘These life-long binders will contribute to achieving clients’ decarbonisation goals...’

A section of road in the UK is to become the first in the country to be resurfaced with a new material which it is said will help increase the life span of roads and reduce the need for roadwork interventions.  

The new product; Total Styrelf Long Life, is part of the Total Styrelf range. Total Styrelf is a high-performance polymer-modified binder bitumen, produced by cross-linking bitumen and thermoplastic elastomers, producing a three-dimensional matrix with a homogeneous, fault-free microstructure. This makes the product particularly hardwearing and well-suited to extreme environments. The new bitumen binder being used in the UK; is designed to be more resistant to the elements, oxidising more slowly. Total UK has worked in partnership with Highways England and Tarmac to resurface a stretch of road in Northamptonshire, UK, with the new product.

The product is being put to the test in a long-term study which could run for up to 15 years. Samples will be taken at regular intervals to measure the aging performance and key characteristics of the bitumen and to understand the degradation caused by oxidation and UV exposure.

Rick Ashton, Market Development Manager at Total UK said: ‘…These life-long binders will contribute to achieving clients’ decarbonisation goals by reducing road works, saving manufacturing, transport and installation energy, and the associated emissions. This trial paves the way for enhanced highways asset management and predictive deterioration modelling for Highways England.’

Total UK estimates that getting the asphalt required to resurface a mile of single lane carriageway – not including transport to the site – can produce up to 26.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide. If roads lasted longer, reducing the  number of resurfacing interventions, the reduction in asphalt production alone could save the equivalent of  the carbon dioxide produced by one car driven 270 000 miles.

Mike Wilson, Highways England Chief Highways Engineer added: ‘Longer lasting roads means fewer road works, less disruption for motorists and a more sustainable network for everyone.’

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