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Rubber in roads

The Transport Sector Research Fund has approved and is funding a research project to identify the barriers to using tyre-derived crumb rubber in bitumen binder in NZ roads. This project also aims to understand the mechanisms to remove these barriers to create market demand for NZ waste tyre-derived products.

Internationally tyre-derived crumb rubber has become a common alternative additive to bituminous binders since the 1970s, addressing pavement performance issues as well as tackling the disposal problem of end-of-life tyres. While early trials of crumb rubber in both hot mixed asphalt (HMA) and chip seal pavements have resulted in mixed performances, technological advances and ongoing research and practices internationally have demonstrated that crumb rubber can be effectively incorporated into road surfacing.

In New Zealand, rubber has only been used in the form of natural rubber latex or styrene-butadiene-styrene block copolymer (SBS) from around the 1970s. Crumb rubber from waste tyres has not been used to any extent in normal road pavement maintenance or construction.

Recycled aggregate waste research

Together with local government, academia and industry partners, the Transport Agency is co-funding a research project into the use of recycled aggregate at the Centre for Infrastructure Research at the University of Auckland. The aim of this project is to determine the size of the Auckland recycled aggregate market, the type of materials available, and what recycled materials might be suitable for use as aggregates in roading.

There are two work streams associated with the project. The first stream is to understand the nature and engineering performance of current recycled aggregate within the Auckland market. The second stream focussed on guiding roading providers, consultants, contractors and suppliers to increase their uptake of recycled aggregate materials.

This research will help to create a better understanding of what recycled materials the market can actually supply. This will ultimately reduce the need for virgin use, transport of quarried materials and landfill disposal costs for recyclable materials.

Published research reports

Useful links

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