Brimbank Council Trials Glass in Asphalt Wearing Course

23 May 2022

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In collaboration with ARRB, Brimbank City Council has brought together Victoria’s leading asphalt suppliers, Alex Fraser, Downer and Fulton Hogan, to build some of the state’s greenest roads with recycled glass in the heart of the western suburbs of Melbourne.

In a first for Brimbank, the project enlisted Alex Fraser’s asphalt crews to resurface Deer Park’s Gould and Newbury streets with a range of sustainable asphalt mixes containing recycled glass sand, from the three major suppliers.

Brimbank City Council Asset and Property Services Manager Dominic Di Martino explained that maximising the use of recycled content in roads was a priority for the council.

“The Department of Transport (formerly VicRoads) have allowed the use of glass in asphalt wearing course since the beginning of 2022. As a council, we want to make more sustainable choices wherever we can. This demonstration is a way of qualifying sustainable products as a smart choice for future road projects.”

Brimbank City Council’s Dominic Di Martino (yellow vest) and ARRB’s (L-R) Umer Chaudhry, Melissa Lyons and Jaimi Harrison overseeing the trial.

ARRB Senior Technology Leader for Sustainability and Material Performance Melissa Lyons says that this initiative was a demonstration of the circular economy in action.

“It’s exciting to see this local council driven initiative putting more recycled materials into roads,” she said.

“The use of recycled glass sand in lower layers of asphalt isn’t new, but some people still get a bit nervous about putting recycled glass in the wearing course – or the ‘top layer’. There’s a misconception that it’s sharp and abrasive, but that’s not the case – it’s as smooth as regular sand.”

“Glass in the wearing course is something the Department of Transport wants to explore more, too. Validations like this provide great examples to regulators, and other municipalities of how sustainable products can be used in roads and deliver great performance results – like durability, longevity and rut resistance.”

Lyons said the new green pavements will be subjected to performance testing over the next six months and beyond.

“We’ll be coming back to conduct testing several times. This street, although residential, gets quite a bit of traffic due to the neighbouring school; somewhere in the region of 6,000 cars a day. The council will conduct their own maintenance monitoring as well.”

Alex Fraser’s Asphalt crew paved two Brimbank City Council streets with sustainable asphalt mixes containing recycled glass sand.

“All this testing should provide a level of assurance to Brimbank City Council that investing in high recycled content asphalt makes sense in the long-term, and hopefully it will encourage neighbouring councils to consider using greener asphalt, too,” Lyons explained.

Alex Fraser Asphalt General Manager Brendan Camilleri says this is a demonstration of how councils can achieve a circular economy, and work together with a range of stakeholders to build sustainable infrastructure.

“It’s exciting to see all three major asphalt suppliers come together on a project like this. Our Green Roads Glassphalt has been paved alongside sustainable asphalt by Fulton Hogan and Downer, as well as a control mix that does not contain recycled glass.

“For consistency, the entire project was paved by the same Alex Fraser Asphalt crew and the same equipment. All sections of the project contained a percentage of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP), and the three test sections contain varying amounts of recycled glass sand.

“We’re looking forward to hearing and sharing the results of ARRB and Brimbank’s testing and monitoring of these new green roads next year,” Camilleri said.