VIC Roads Specifies Higher Rubber Mix in Surface Seal
TSA funded market development activities are already beginning to generate positive results.
In a significant move towards increasing use of tyre-derived material, in July 2016, VicRoads modified its contract requirements to allow a doubling of the rubber content that can be used in high stress road surface seals, from 5% to 10%. VicRoads already allowed up to 18% crumb rubber for other types of sprayed seal.
The move comes after a national cooperative research project targeting greater use of rubberised road products, including asphalt and spray seal, funded by Tyre Stewardship Australia and involving the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), Sustainability Victoria, VicRoads, and the Queensland Departments of Transport & Main Roads and Environment & Heritage Protection.
The research project is part of over $1.5 million TSA has already allocated to market development activities.
Rubberised asphalt has been in use for many years around the world with the USA leading the charge. Over 12 million end-of life tyres per year are used in the USA in rubberised road asphalt and spray seal. These tyre-derived products have delivered superior performance in terms of noise, drainage and durability.
Although rubberised asphalt and spray seal have both been in use in Australia for some time, the scope to increase both use and rubber content nationally offers a major opportunity to utilise recycled rubber and can play a central role in helping to solve the challenge of dealing with end-of-life tyres.
The decision by VicRoads to increase the rubber content in road surface spray is a clear indication that well targeted market development projects can bear fruitful results.
According to Dale Gilson, CEO of Tyre Stewardship Australia: “The decision by VicRoads has the potential to make a significant impact on the development of a market for tyre-derived raw material. Given the number of end-of-life tyres Australia generates each year, the potential to turn an environmental challenge into an opportunity to improve roads is dramatic.”
“But we are not just focussed on road applications. There will be further research projects, both solely TSA funded and in partnership, covering other end uses and, in the near future, we will be announcing additional projects.”