In situ road recycling makes Somerset main road rebuild project ‘cheaper, greener and quicker’

Road recycling makes Somerset main road rebuild project ‘cheaper, greener and quicker’ An innovative road recycling technique has been used to rebuild a main road in Somerset in the fraction of the time that traditional relaying techniques.

By using a technique developed by specialist road recycling contractor Stabilised Pavements, Somerset County Council says it carried out the rebuilding work on the A3088 Cartgate Link Road near Yeovil in just four weeks, rather than the six months that more traditional processes would have taken.

The technique uses a specially designed vehicle to remove the top layers of the old road’s surface and pulverise the foundation layers. The material is then remixed by the vehicle with a hydraulic binder and relaid in the same location. This is then compacted, shaped and tarmacked using a fleet of 10 further vehicles.

Traditionally, material from the old road is taken away to be recycled into aggregate or disposed of and replaced on the road with new material.

As well as reducing disruption to one of Somerset’s busiest roads, the process enabled 70 per cent of the old road material from the 2.3-kilometre (km) road to be recycled. The council says that by recycling the material in situ using the technique, far fewer lorry trips were needed to transport materials and so both council money and around 330 tonnes of CO2 were saved.

Although the council says that the recycled road process is not suitable for all road replenishment programmes, like those dealing with urban roads with pipes and cables underneath, it is a resource-efficient way of replenishing rural main roads, and a similar programme will be used to rebuild a 3km stretch of the A39 near Ashcott, this month.

Cheaper, greener, quicker

Cllr David Fothergill, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “The Cartgate is a very busy road so we’ve had to look carefully at how best to carry out these much needed improvements without causing too much disruption.

“We’ve used some really advanced engineering techniques to recycle the road, which is quicker, cheaper and better for the environment.

“This road recycling technique is not suitable for all jobs but can be very effective in the right location. It will be cheaper, greener and quicker than other methods, but we will still be excavating deep under the road to resolve the underlying weakness and prevent future problems with potholes.”

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