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Agency U-turns on plan to resurface noisy roads

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HIGHWAYS AGENCY officials this week confirmed a decision to scrap plans to resurface noisy concrete roads with quieter advanced asphalt formulations.

The Agency said the work was too expensive and would only be done in future as part of routine maintenance.

Pro-asphalt group the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) warned that the move could backfire.

'This is a great disappointment for those living close to heavily trafficked (concrete) roads who had been looking forward to a quieter life, ' said an AIA spokesman.

'It could also prove a false economy if it results in money having to be paid out in grants to help soundproof homes.' This could mean the most recently constructed concrete roads, such as the A1-M1 link in Yorkshire and the A30 in Devon, will not receive the sound reducing overlays for 40 years or more.

The decision is a major U-turn by the Agency following transport secretary Alastair Darling's 2003 pledge to resurface all concrete roads by 2011.

An Agency spokesman said pressure on costs had driven the decision but said large sections of concrete road had already been resurfaced.

'By the end of the 10 year plan we will have resurfaced more than half the 3,000 lane kilometres of concrete roads that were unsurfaced at the start of the plan.

Trial sections of low noise 'whisper' concrete on the A449, A50 and M18 were still performing well with traffic noise below that of traditional hot rolled asphalt, a Concrete Centre spokesman said.

The A30 and A1-M1 link had a noisier brush fi nish, but a 50 year life to major refurbishment would be expected, he added.

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