When it comes to road construction, many people are wondering about how sustainable the process is. This is because road infrastructure has to be repaired and maintained for years, and it is important to have an understanding of the environmental impacts of such an undertaking. In this article, we discuss some of the major challenges and practices associated with road construction. These include the use of Dynamic Paint, Warm Mix Asphalts and Circular Road Systems. By implementing these and other environmentally friendly road building techniques, you can help improve the safety of roadways and also reduce the environmental footprint of your road construction project.
Warm-mix asphalts reduce fumes and steam on site
Warm-mix asphalts (WMA) are asphalts manufactured at lower temperatures. The reduction in heat during paving reduces the production of fumes and steam on the site. This improves air quality for road workers and the residents living nearby.
Warm mix Asphalts can contribute to the UK’s drive towards net-zero emissions. WMAs are manufactured at temperatures of between 40 and 100 degC – considerably lower than conventional hot-mix asphalts. They require less fuel to produce, which is good news for the environment.
The reduction in fumes and steam also means better visibility on the site. In addition, there is reduced risk of burns and improved safety.
Aside from these benefits, warm mix can also deliver important carbon savings. It produces up to 15% less embodied carbon than hot-mix asphalt. That means more miles of road can be laid in a shift, which reduces overall construction time.
Warm-mix asphalts are easy to transport over long distances. Moreover, it can be laid using existing equipment. Unlike hot-mix, it can be laid in deeper patches without deforming.
There are other positive effects of implementing Warm-mix Asphalts, such as the enhanced durability of the road surface. Consequently, less maintenance will be required in the future. These benefits add up to an overall increase in the life of the asset.
Warm-mix Asphalts are being used more and more in the United States. For example, the Highways England group, a government-owned company, has issued a request to all contractors to use warm mix asphalt.
The National Center for Asphalt Technology has been conducting research into the benefits of WMA. It evaluated different solutions for reducing the release of fumes and other harmful gases during paving. It worked with the manufacturers of WMA additives.
With the rising concern for the environment, manufacturers are looking for sustainable solutions that can improve the efficiency and longevity of the road’s surface. ULTILOW is one such solution. Developed by Tarmac, ULTILOW offers embodied carbon savings of up to 15%.
Warm-mix Asphalts are an excellent option for highway teams to reduce odour and fume emissions on the site. They improve air quality for workers, reduce construction costs, and promote safer road usage.
Circular approach to the design of the road system
The circularity of the road network is a subject of interest in and of itself. The concept of “recycling” the materials used in the creation of roads and highways is an increasingly popular fad among governments worldwide. Several countries in Europe have set aside dedicated funds for the recycling of waste resulting from construction and maintenance activities. In the United Kingdom, the national road authority has also stepped up its game in the recycling arena. However, materials used to build the foundation, such as Screw Pile Pros, should never be compromised on for the sake of safety.
One of the more notable feats of the design is the use of materials such as recycled asphalt and glass to construct the roadways. Despite this progress, it is not without its shortcomings. Having said that, the UK is an admirable example of a government that has taken steps to improve its own ailing roads and highways. Among other things, it has introduced a circular award scheme to reward stakeholders for delivering quality roads. It is therefore not surprising that the circularity of the network has been a subject of much study.
Circularity is a worthy topic of discussion for any road design professional. A plethora of measures are implemented to varying degrees of success. Nonetheless, the aforementioned best practice may be the only way forward for road construction in the coming years. There are a number of measures that need to be evaluated in the context of local and regional road networks.
Challenges facing the road construction sector
The road construction industry is facing a number of challenges. These include environmental issues, decarbonization of the transportation sector, and electronic information. However, there are solutions that can help address these issues. In addition, lessons can be learned and applied to future projects.
Climate threats are a major concern for most industrialized countries. As a result, road transport must be strengthened to withstand extreme weather conditions. Moreover, the road infrastructure must also be updated to incorporate new technological advancements.
Despite the challenges faced, the road engineering industry has made great advances over the years. For instance, innovative techniques have been used to construct viaducts and tunnels. Safety devices and high quality materials have also been introduced.
While the highway infrastructure is essential to the economic and social wellbeing of many countries, it is a costly endeavor. One of the biggest issues is the cost of the equipment involved. Several contractors are worried that their workers will not adopt new technology to improve safety performance.
Another issue involves the lack of adequate training. This affects the contractor’s workflow management and project performance. Additionally, the contractor’s staff may be resistant to taking responsibility for the work they do.
Corruption is another common problem within the road construction industry. The lack of training and communication can lead to poor productivity. Furthermore, corruption can occur at any level of the organization.
Lack of adequate funding and financing can also be a major problem. Some large road and highway companies need a huge sum of cash to continue operating. But in some weak economies, it can be hard to find the financial resources to support these construction projects.
Other problems involve a lack of communication and collaboration. Without proper planning, there can be idle time and waiting on materials. A lack of effective coordination can lead to higher operating costs and loss of time.
Finally, the contractor’s workforce may have a poor quality control. A lack of training leads to a lack of motivation to work as a team.