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From waste to roads

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Research conducted at Curtin University of Technology could mean that the next time you drive to the shops you could be driving over the leftovers from someone’s renovation.

Curtin researchers have been looking at ways of turning construction and demolition (C&D) waste into new roads that will save money, help the environment and provide a superior road for motorists.

Professor Hamid Nikraz, Curtin’s Head of Civil Engineering, said the technology, already used on parts of the Kwinana Freeway and roads in the Cities of Canning and Gosnells, could provide a cheaper and more environmentally friendly way to construct roads.

“Since you are reducing the demand for more materials needed to make the roads, you are reducing the rock that needs to be quarried, limiting habitat loss,” he said.

“By using fewer resources, substantial environmental and cost savings can be made.

“Less energy is also used when making roads out of recycled waste, which is also good for the environment.”

These roads can be made from a number of sources including old concrete pavements and structures, demolished homes and leftover material from construction sites.

Curtin researchers have been working on the project for two years.

Curtin Adjunct Professor and City of Canning Project Engineer, Colin Leek, said roads developed using C&D waste were more resilient than those made using traditional newly quarried materials.

“Roads made in this way are not only cheaper and better for the environment, they are also often superior in quality,” he said.

“By using recycled C&D materials we can develop roads with a higher level of stiffness that appear to take longer to crack and degrade than traditional aggregate.

“You would not even know you were on one of these roads. Next time you are driving to the supermarket, you may be travelling over an old multi-storey building or leftovers from someone’s renovation.

“Although more research needs to be done on the exact mix of different kinds of material used, this method certainly holds promise.”

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