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Durham County Council using 'plastic road' technology on the A689
Durham County Council using 'plastic road' technology on the A689

Durham County Council using ‘plastic road’ technology on the A689

Durham County Council has trialled new ‘plastic road’ technology on the resurfaced A689.

Located close to Sedgefield in County Durham, this new technology has been trialled as part of work to resurface a section of the road with hot rolled asphalt.

Indeed, Durham County Council is the first local authority in the North East to give this technology a try.

As part of the “continuous programme” to resurface and maintain the road network in the area, the council is particularly interested in trying out technology that will not only improve roads, but make them much more environmentally friendly.

The Council’s head of technical services, John Reed, explains what the process delivers.

He said: “In this trial, we incorporated waste plastics into the asphalt instead of traditional bitumen.

“This will help divert plastics that are difficult to recycle from incineration and landfill, and reduce our carbon emissions.

“We are confident that this new technology will perform at least as well as the conventional method.”

This could be a real change in the way roadworks are delivered; the central government wants its network to be more environmentally friendly and emissions to be cut.

Meanwhile, the road network has struggled this year and in recent years under the weight of poor weather and an ever increasing level of traffic, creating potholes that cost millions of pounds to repair.

The new system on the A689 could well be one that inspires local authorities to look at alternative methods, especially given the focus on reducing plastic consumption.

As part of the resurfacing, waste packaging and insulation that wouldn’t normally be recycled have been turned into a plastic crumb that can be mixed into the asphalt.

By doing this, the amount of bitumen required is reduced, as is the carbon footprint of road resurfacing by a tonne of carbon dioxide for every tonne of bitumen that would have been used.

And the new A689 surface, which used the equivalent of 60,000 plastic shopping bags, is more durable and longer lasting.

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