Highways England trying a new anti-ageing asphalt cream on the roads

The new blend of asphalt from Highways England is compared to an anti-ageing cream due to its ability to make road surfaces last longer!

anti ageing road highways england

HIGHWAYS England has begun testing a new road surfacing material that is said to prolong the life of roads - and compared to an ‘anti-ageing cream’.

It is estimated that motorways and A-roads in the UK require resurfacing every 10-12 years, due to a combination of general use by heavy traffic with the elements (water/ice, sun, and air) causing the surfaces to deteriorate and crack. 

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Road-wrinkles be gone | Highways England new road anti-ageing cream

Following laboratory tests, Highways England has found an innovative blend of materials that is said to keep our roads in good shape, without the need for a ‘facelift’. 

Behind all of this is a new bitumen called Styrelf Long Life, designed to oxidise slower and be far more resilient to the elements, keeping surfaces ‘flexible’ for longer and prevents cracks from forming. 

A busy patch of the A43 near Silverstone, in Northamptonshire, has been resurfaced using the new asphalt mix - and it is hoped that more durable surfaces will ultimately lead to fewer roadworks being required, good for the pocket and good for commuters, but also great for the environment. 

It’s estimated that resurfacing a mile of single-lane carriageway can produce up to 26.5 tonnes of CO2 from getting the asphalt in place alone, so improving the longevity of road surfaces could negate the need for 2 resurfaces in a 60 year period. 

Mike Wilson, Highways England’s chief highways engineer, said:

“We’re always looking for innovative ways to help us keep England’s motorways and major A roads in good condition. The ultimate priority for us is safety so we invest in new technology and materials to keep those using the roads safe.

“Longer lasting roads means fewer roadworks, less disruption for motorists and a more sustainable network for everyone.”

Whilst Brian Kent, technical director at Tarmac, said:

“What we have in this case is essentially an anti-ageing cream for roads - just as these products are designed to reduce and prevent the signs of fine lines and overall ageing of the skin, the new bitumen being trialled on the A43 will protect the road surface.”

This anti-road-ageing substance has been tested on roads in Germany and the Netherlands prior to being applied to the A43, and technical experts will measure the performance of the material against an equivalent ‘control section’ laid at the same time on the A43 - presumably to look for early signs of ageing. 

Asphalt and Tarmac is a surprisingly fascinating topic.