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Lack of funds stall new road surfacing system

LACK OF funds is holding back trials on an American developed concrete road retexturing technique which is claimed to offer a viable alternative to resurfacing with low noise blacktop, it was revealed this week.

Last week the European agent for an American concrete road grinding system claimed his method could meet all the Highways Agency's requirements, especially on noise.

'But the only way to convince the doubters is to carry out trials in the UK, ' said Roman Buys, managing director of Belgiumbased Robuco.

'We would only need between 1,000m 2and 2,000m 2of old concrete road to show the benefits.'

Two weeks ago the Agency confirmed that it had abandoned so-called whisper concrete and would resurface all concrete trunk roads with high performance 'negative texture' thin bituminous surfacing over the next 10 years (NCE 1 February).

The Agency said high performance blacktop was the only way of meeting this objective.

Buys claims that the technique, which uses powerful grinding machines to smooth the road and form longitudinal grooves around 2.5mm wide and up to 7mm deep, costs less than £3.50/m 2, depending on the aggregate used in the original road.

But the Agency said this week that a proper long term trial would cost at least £250,000, which would have to come from the promoters of the system.

'There is no doubt the technique cuts noise dramatically, ' Agency pavement engineering principal engineer John Mercer said on Tuesday. 'But we have serious doubts on high speed skid resistance, especially in the wet and when the original aggregate was limestone.

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