Road maintenance carried out in Oxfordshire using latest low carbon recycling technique

Innovative method reduces carbon by 50 per cent and avoids thousands of tonnes of construction waste

A programme of resurfacing has been completed in Oxfordshire using an innovative technique which recycles the top layer of old road surfaces that are removed before new surfaces are put in place.

Oxfordshire County Council carried out the work using ‘cold recycling’ with its contractor Milestone Infrastructure and its supply chain partners Aggregate Industries, Drayton Construction, Hazell & Jeffries and OCL Regeneration in September and October.

During this programme, over 4,000 tonnes of cold recycled material was laid, saving an estimated 75 tonnes of carbon – equivalent to 92 flights from London to New York. It also avoids the environmental impact of disposing of thousands of tonnes of waste planings – the top layer of road surfaces removed due to damage – and the need to extract virgin aggregates.

Councillor Andrew Gant, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport Management, said: “This is just the latest in a series of schemes we are carrying out with our contractor to improve the quality of Oxfordshire’s roads. By embracing innovation, we are making our residents’ money go further, helping ease the burden on highways budget and cutting carbon emissions in our own projects.”

Five schemes were completed across the county using cold recycling:

  • Park Road, Didcot
  • Kingham Hill Lane, near Cornwell
  • Merton Road, Ambrosden
  • B4450 Station Road, Kingham
  • Aston Road, near Ducklington.

This technique involves recycling stockpiled road planings and processing them ready to be reused in resurfacing projects.

This material, known as Foambase® or cold recycled bound material, uses 94 per cent of recycled aggregates bound with foamed bitumen and other hydraulic binders. It uses just five per cent of the energy compared to that used in the manufacture of traditional asphalt. This offers a 50 per cent savings in embodied carbon compared with using standard materials.

Richard Lovewell, Business Director for Milestone on the Oxfordshire Contract, said: “Carbon reduction is a key strategic target for both Milestone and Oxfordshire County Council. It is therefore imperative that we look for new ways of working to maximise the use of recycled materials within our highway maintenance contract.

“Our innovative solution of recycling waste materials arising from other maintenance schemes not only reduces carbon emissions but also creates cost savings, especially through not having to pay high specialist disposal costs. This delivers the dual benefit of additional reinvestment into the county council road network whilst taking another step to achieve Milestone’s target of net zero by 2040.

“This project is another great example of Milestone and Oxfordshire County Council working together to deliver sustainable solutions to maintain the county’s roads.”

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