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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

Volker Highways | Working collaboratively for a carbon-neutral West Berkshire


VolkerHighways and West Berkshire Council have continued their carbon reduction journey by resurfacing part of the A4 Hungerford to Newbury with a 20 percent Recycled Asphalt Product (RAP) wearing course.


The scheme, supported by FM Conway, has achieved a significant 26,223kg CO2e saving.


As part of the continued investment to improve the roads in the county, West Berkshire Council committed to increase funding available for surfacing works. The section of the A4 involved resurfacing over 4km, which included repairing damaged kerbs and replacing over 60 faded road signs.


To achieve optimum outputs and minimise disruption to road users, the works were completed during overnight road closures. The initial programme was 12 nights, however after increasing efficiencies, the scheme was reduced to 10 nights. Thanks to careful planning, communication and the experience of the team, the scheme was actually completed in nine nights. During each closure, an impressive 466t of stone mastic asphalt was laid per night.


Carbon savings were derived through an increase in RAP material and use of warm mix asphalt. FM Conway’s unique approach to materials and the circular economy meant that the asphalt was supplied, and the subsequent planings then brought back to their Heathrow asphalt plant for recycling. To ensure the planings were suitable for future use as a wearing material, they were pre-tested for tar bound material/skid resistance.


Traditional wearing course mix uses 8% RAP material. By recycling planings as RAP and using a 20% RAP solution, less virgin aggregate is required, and provides a 12% above average RAP mix. In addition, it has been calculated that approximately 190 lorry journeys were saved, as the same fleet of tippers were used to remove planings and deliver the asphalt.


VolkerHighways also locally sourced a new style road stud manufactured by 3M, that is virtually maintenance free and eight times more reflective than conventional Halifax. We are hopeful that this will now be used as standard on all future schemes.


Kunle Kolaru, Operations Director for VolkerHighways, said: “It is great to see that VolkerHighways is yet again finding alternative solutions to help the climate crisis and steer West Berkshire towards their goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2030. Increasing RAP in the wearing course to avoid using new aggregates, is just another step of demonstrating that by working together, quality material can be produced and should be seen as permanent new ways of working.”

Councillor Denise Gaines, Executive Member for Highways, Housing and Sustainable Travel at West Berkshire Council, said: “To work collaboratively in delivering significant road improvements across West Berkshire is a remarkable achievement in the delivery of sustainable infrastructure improvements while maintaining a carbon-neutral approach.

“This accomplishment is a testament to our commitment to addressing the climate emergency and achieving our district's goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.


“By prioritising sustainable practices in our infrastructure development, we can create a better future for our communities and the planet as a whole.”


Mark Flint, Technical Director for FM Conway, said "FM Conway welcomed the opportunity to engage, at an early stage, with VolkerHighways on this project. FM Conway will continue to work closely with VolkerHighways to deliver high-quality surfaces, efficient ways of working and increased carbon savings. We look forward to the methods used on this project becoming common practice in West Berkshire."

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