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Innovative road surface is streets ahead

An innovative way to reduce timescales for roadworks is being trialled in Kent by UK Power Networks.

From Press releases - 27 April 2017 12:00 AM

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The new method enables more excavations to be reinstated to high standards on the same day that work is completed on essential underground electricity infrastructure.

UK Power Networks owns over 140,000 kilometres of underground cables which bring electricity to more than a quarter of Britain’s homes and businesses. It is constantly finding ways to improve the speed and quality of essential work on its infrastructure in London, the South East and East Anglia.

The Roadmender Asphalt machine mixes the top black layer of the road on site, instead of transporting the material from an asphalt plant miles away. This reduces the time taken to permanently reinstate utility excavations, lifting traffic restrictions to keep traffic flowing and pavements clear.

Since the trial started in October the method has been used at over 170 sites in Kent.

Richard Boissieux, Streetworks Manager at UK Power Networks, said: “The advantage of the new process is we can carry everything we need on the back of a lorry and make the material on site as required. We buy bags of bitumen granules mixed with the correct grade of coated aggregate and use a sophisticated mixer so the required material comes out at the right temperature and quantity, making the new approach a more efficient way of working and resulting in less waste.

“UK Power Networks is looking to use this machine to reduce the overall duration of its streetworks activities. It also gives us greater flexibility to carry out permanent reinstatement when asphalt plants are closed.”

Following extensive testing on the material at the world-renowned TRL, in Wokingham, who are continuing to monitor the long-term performance of the material, UK Power Networks has been trialling the new approach on small reinstatements in the South East, before extending it more widely if successful.

The project was funded by Ofgem’s Network Innovation Allowance and is supported by Transport for London’s Lane Rental innovation fund and Kent County Council Lane Rental Fund.