Skanska has laid graphene-enhanced asphalt on a busy road in Curbridge and an asphalt road surface course containing 50% of recycled content in Essex
Skanska hopes to help reduce potholes and carbon to create more durable roads across the UK.
The recyclable, graphene-enhanced asphalt road has been laid for Oxfordshire County Council, in a trial that sees this material used on British roads for the first time.
The works, which were delivered by subcontractor Aggregate Industries, involved removal and reinstatement of the existing carriageway to a depth of 150mm over a 750m long section.
In order to gauge a difference, one lane was replaced using conventional materials, while the opposite lane was resurfaced using the asphalt enhanced by Iterchimica.
If successful, this new graphene-enhanced asphalt could significantly increase the durability of asphalt used in highways maintenance.
Skanska’s work in Essex
So far, standard practice has been to limit the recycled content of surface courses for motorways and A-roads to around 10%. The asphalt surface course contains 50% of recycled content, marking a step-change in the use of recycled material on UK roads that could result in huge environmental benefits.
Jim Daughton, Skanska’s operations director, commented: “Exploring these new materials is about taking a new approach to tackling two of the biggest issues facing the highways industry and UK drivers – reducing potholes and improving the quality of our infrastructure for the future while driving down carbon.
“We’re always looking for new ways to provide best value and our innovative approach enables us to deliver better and more effective projects for our customers and their communities, so we’re delighted to be the first to trial graphene asphalt in the UK and increase use of recycled materials.
“If successful, these innovative products could transform highways maintenance in the UK, extensively extending the life of key highways infrastructure affected by significant traffic loads, while reducing carbon, which is key as we work with our supply chain to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2045.”
Oxfordshire County Council’s interim director community operations, Jason Russell, said: “Oxfordshire County Council is always keen to explore new products and processes to not only improve the network for our residents, visitors and businesses, but more importantly to make sure that we maximise the resources we have and deliver as many improvements as we can.
“Working with Skanska, we recognised the opportunity to be at the forefront of developing new materials which will enhance the roads in the UK.
“We have taken the approach that trials are an important factor in pushing the boundaries and without the forward-thinking we adopt, we would be behind the development curve and not be offering our residents the best we could offer in terms of spending public funds wisely.”
The graphene-enhanced road in Curbridge and the asphalt surface course in Essex will now be monitored and assessed.
Skanska has already begun discussions with Connect Plus to trial graphene-enhanced asphalt on the M25 DBFO network.