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Prime Mover Magazine

Mitcham sustainably improving road conditions with end of life tyres

A South Australian council is working on an innovative new road surface to deliver a highly sustainable solution for developing its infrastructure. 

The Australian transport industry is likely to see substantial benefits from an increase in the use of crumbed rubber in local roads according to Tyre Stewardship Australia.

The City of Mitcham, in South Australia, is working with Tyre Stewardship Australia, an industry body devoted to tackling the tyre recycling challenge, testing recycled crumbed rubber in asphalt.

This is known to deliver more durable and safer roads and generate less noise for neighbouring communities.

To date, a stretch of 335 metres of this innovative road surface has been laid in the municipality and is currently undergoing rigorous durability and performance testing.

As part of the evaluation, a range of factors such as cracking, rutting, moisture retention and longevity will be assessed. These factors directly impact both safety as well as vehicle maintenance costs – and crucial downtime for up tempo transport operations.

Only 10 per cent of the 56 million end-of-life tyres Australians generate each year are currently recycled domestically. The successful outcome of this test, it is anticipated, will potentially increase the use of this type of road surface nationwide.

The City of Mitcham has used approximately 850 end-of-life tyres in the asphalt resurfacing of Stanlake Avenue. Almost two end-of-life passenger car tyres were used for every tonne of asphalt laid in a demonstration that presented no workability or fuming issues, despite a high ambient temperature on the day.

“We are trialing the crumb rubber asphalt because of the significant environmental benefits as well as the opportunity to improve the quality and life of road pavements, particularly in areas of reactive clay soils,” said Heather Holmes-Ross, City of Mitcham Mayor.

Lina Goodman, CEO of Tyre Stewardship Australia, welcomed the innovative thinking of the City of Mitcham in conducting the test.

“The Council has grasped the opportunity to deliver better infrastructure whist addressing a major challenge in sustainability. Improved roads are a benefit for all to share and the value for the transport industry, through greater safety and smoother, more durable surfaces, is obvious,” she said.

“Transport Fleets can join TSA at no cost and enjoy the benefits of having their vehicles operate on upgraded roads. Furthermore they will also become associated with the obvious environmental and social benefits that result from the use of a recycled product.”

The work of TSA in the domain of crumb rubber asphalt continues to be a major focus in developing value for
tyre-derived products.

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