Pavement direction into the future

Road Maintenance is creating a small blending plant to easily incorporate crumb rubber into asphalt binders as it looks to the future of asphalt paving.

With more than 50 million tyres generated across Australia, using crumb rubber in asphalt spray sealing offers an environmentally friendly alternative to landfill.

Road Maintenance expects the demand for crumb rubber used in asphalt and spray sealing depots across Australia to be increased by small blending plants.

According to Max Fitzgerald, Road Maintenance Owner, crumb rubber has traditionally been blended in large plants which were not in convenient locations for contractors.

This led Mr. Fitzgerald and the team at Road Maintenance to design a small and easily transportable blending plant to be assembled at the contractor’s depot.

The plant will have the correct formulas to incorporate waste rubber into asphalt binders and is intended to be situated closer to companies’ projects.

Road Maintenance’s first manufacturing plant was built in 1984 to produce rubberised bitumen products for road contractors in southeast Australia to use in road spray sealing.

Mr. Fitzgerald believes small blending plants will advance crumb rubber spray sealing and asphalt.

With best performing binders, Mr. Fitzgerald says government authorities will increase the life of their pavements by as much as 50 to 100 per cent.

Rubber asphalt and spray sealing can be used as an overlay of existing asphalt at the end of its life.

Mr. Fitzgerald says using crumb rubber for asphalt is proved to have advantages, including a thinner application layer, and tyre noise reduction when braking.

Rubber asphalt can be used on local government roads due to its longer life span and noise reduction properties.

Mr. Fitzgerald says local government is a large user of asphalt in dense grade, and open grade is only used on major highways.

Another major advantage of using crumb rubber in spray sealing for asphalt is alleviating Australia’s waste tyre accumulation.

While some of Australia’s waste tyres are shipped overseas, only 16 per cent are recycled locally according to data from Sustainability Victoria.

Mr. Fitzgerald says many developed countries already use crumb rubber blends for most of their roads.

“In Australia we are falling behind on using waste tyres in the asphalt industry. This is largely due to the distance of blend plants from work sites,” he says.

Road Maintenance has also created odourless rubber binders and a bonding agent which allows the asphalt to be laid at lower temperatures.

Mr. Fitzgerald says lowering the temperature asphalt is laid increases quality on site as the colder asphalt allows more time for laying.

He says Road Maintenance has created a combination of a smaller blending plant and a bonding plant with lower laying temperatures to make it easier for contractors to utilise waste tyres in road construction around the country.

“Road Maintenance is committed to establishing equipment that will ensure the best performance of roads across Australia.”

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