January’s top stories: New low-energy road building materials, UK’s smart motorway project

Carbon Trust and Lafarge Tarmac unveil low-energy road building materials, first smart motorway project in UK’s South West region completed, while US state of Maine to invest $2bn to improve roads and bridges. Roadtraffic-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from January 2014.


Road Material

Carbon Trust and Lafarge Tarmac unveil low-energy road building materials

The Carbon Trust and Lafarge Tarmac have unveiled low-energy road building materials which could save £46.2m over the next ten years for UK road industry, following a three-year research project.

The new project has eliminated market barriers for the use of lower temperature asphalt in road building, a move which will reduce energy costs and cut carbon emissions by up to 39%, creating the equivalent carbon savings of taking over 345,000 cars off the roads.

Road material used under conventional method is made by bonding aggregates and bitumen into asphalt by heating them to temperatures of 180°C to190°C.

Amey selected as preferred bidder for Staffordshire's highways maintenance contract

Staffordshire contract

Ferrovial Services' UK subsidiary Amey has been selected as the preferred bidder by Staffordshire County Council in the UK for the county's highways maintenance contract.

The contract, which is expected to worth about £80m, will be valid for ten years, with possible extensions up to 20 years; however, the final value is dependent on the final scope of the partnership.

Amey will commence negotiations with Staffordshire County Council in the next few weeks in order to determine the scope of the services under the proposed contract.

First smart motorway project in UK's South West region completed

The first smart motorway in the UK's South West region has been completed ahead of time and under budget.

The motorway was officially launched by Roads Minister Robert Goodwill, covers seven miles of motorway around the Almondsbury Interchange, and includes junctions 19-20 on the M4 and junctions 15-17 on the M5.

It will help lower congestion and improve safety and journey times by introducing variable speed limits and opening the hard shoulder during busy traffic periods.

US state of Maine to invest $2bn to improve roads and bridges

The Maine Department of Transportation (DOT) plans to invest $2.02bn over the next three years to improve roads and bridges across the state.

The Three Year Work Plan, from 2014 to 2016, will utilise $100m in state transportation bonds and federal highway funds to invest in more than 1,600 projects that will be taken up across all of the state's 16 counties.

Governor Paul LePage and Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt said the three-year work plan will create hundreds of jobs for contractors and construction workers.

Arup secures Roskilde Fjord Link contract in Denmark

Roskilde link

Professional services firm Arup has been selected as the lead consultant to the Danish Road Directorate (Vejdirektoratet) to manage the design, procurement and site supervision works of the new Roskilde Fjord Link.

The project consists of a 6.6km dual carriageway along with a 1.4km tolled high-bridge, and is expected to lower traffic congestion in the city of Frederikssund, with the new link acting as a by-pass to the south of the city.

Vejdirektoratet Construction division director Jens Holmboe said: "We consider this project as being technically challenging because of the archeological situation in and around the Roskilde Fjord and the environmental impact on the Natura 2000 area."

San Antonio to receive $800m for road improvement projects

The US city of San Antonio will receive more than $800m funding for the expansion of I-10, US 281 and Loop 1604 in a move to lower traffic congestion in the region.

The funding was announced by the Texas Department of Transportation, the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority, VIA Metropolitan Transit, city of San Antonio and Bexar County leaders.

It is estimated that drivers in San Antonio spend about 40 million hours every year in traffic on some regional roadways.

UK's first low level traffic signals for cyclists installed in London

London has installed the UK's first low level traffic signals specifically designed to help cyclists, as part of a £913m scheme to transform cycling in the city.

The installation follows several safety trials conducted by Transport for London (TfL).

During off-street trials, which were carried out in partnership with the Department for Transport (DfT) last year, over 80% of cyclists favoured the installation of low-level traffic signals that repeat the signal displayed on main traffic lights, TfL said.

Canada begins major highway project in Northwest Territories

Canada highway project

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the construction of the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk highway in the Northwest Territories.

The project is expected to extend the Dempster Highway through to the Arctic coast.

The highway will link the Town of Inuvik and the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk; an Arctic community that is currently accessible only by ice road, barge or air.