Flanders gets first recycled asphalt road
The project, called Rejuvebit, is a cooperation between the Flemish agency for roads and traffic (Agentschap Wegen en Verkeer, AWV), the University of Antwerp, and the research center for roadworks (Opzoekingscentrum voor de Wegenbouw, OCW).
“Flemish roads already use recycled asphalt for their base layer. For the top layer, however, the material can’t be used yet,” says Geert Jacobs, a researcher at the University of Antwerp.
“Oily rejuvenation products can be a solution to increase the percentage of recycled material and guarantee the durability of the end product,” says Jacobs. “Until now, we could incorporate 40% of recycled asphalt. The rejuvenation products will make that percentage sixty or seventy percent.”
The results from lab tests are good. The test in the Campine municipality Retie now has to deliver real-world results. The test road uses three types of material. One uses 20% recycled without rejuvenator, the second 40% with rejuvenator and the third, traditional asphalt.
Visually, there is no difference. “The three products should qualitatively deliver the same results. In a year, after the coming winter, we will evaluate. We will continue to do so over the next years,” says Jacobs. His team will install new test surfaces in Antwerp and Ghent.
The demand to be able to use recycled asphalt is strong. “Last year, we had to postpone roadworks because of a shortage of bitumen used in asphalt. With recycled asphalt, however, we can avoid this,” says Johan Van Hollebeke, of road construction company Besix. “Recycling asphalt also avoids a lot of extra transports.”
AWV, the agency that manages the Flemish regional roads closely follows the results of the project. “We are working towards a better surface of our roads, in combination with more sustainability,” says AWV spokesman Jef Schoenmaekers. “This new technique is certainly interesting. We could incorporate it in the standard tender for road resurfacing.”