Roadmender Asphalt, a Sheffield-based material engineering company, has claimed that its new repair system could be the solution to the country’s road maintenance backlog.
The Elastomac material, which can be used to fix potholes in the UK’s roads, is said to be greener, faster to install and cheaper than traditional asphalt. Plus, each tonne includes around nine melted-down tyres that would otherwise have gone to waste.
Instead of requiring the pothole to be cut out and re-filled with asphalt (which is the current, long-standing method), this material is simply poured into the patch. It then forms the shape of the hole and welds to the existing road surface.
This means that the molten liquid solution also fights against problems caused by water penetration, as it seals the edges more efficiently than a standard repair. Therefore, there should be fewer failures due to freezing and thawing.
Harry Pearl, CEO of Roadmender Asphalt, said: “Potholes can now be filled with a purpose-designed, flowable repair material that’s made from sustainable, recycled materials. It is heated on-site, welds itself to the existing road, and delivers a totally waterproof, permanent repair with no edges that can fail.
“By avoiding excavating the patch, the process requires on average 80% less material with no waste to carry away, meaning that – subject to the geography of the workflow – contractors should be able to complete up to five times more patches per day at a significantly reduced cost.”
The thermoplastic invention was first introduced to the market in early 2020, in order to help the sector re-think and speed up the process of repairing roads. It’s hoped that this will enable authorities to catch up with the backlog of work.
The laying method can also be taught to road workers in just two days. This satisfies the Highways Sector Council’s guidance that councils should be ‘accelerating shovel-ready work’.