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Life cycle of road pavements and the impact on the availability of road networks.

EARN is sponsored by:

Conference of European Directors of Roads (CEDR).

Project Duration:

January 2013  to December 2014

Project partners:

  • Transportation Research Laboratory TRL Lmt, Wokingham, UK
    (Project Lead).
  • University College Dublin, Ireland
  • Technical Universiteit Delft, NL
  • Lagan Asphalt, Dublin, Ireland
    Shell Int. petroleum Company Lmt, Manchester, UK

Content and goals

The economic benefit of a road network depends to a large extent on the availability and performance of the traffic routes. Road damage and construction sites that disrupt traffic flow reduce this efficiency. In addition, road authorities and the construction industry aim to use more ecologically compatible building materials and construction methods. In addition to recycling and the use of secondary construction materials, this can be achieved by using construction materials that produce fewer CO2 emissions (e.g. bitumen-stabilized (cold) recycled construction materials or asphalt using additives that reduce the production temperature). However, the environmentally friendly effect achieved in this way would be cancelled out if the service life of these building materials were significantly shorter than that of conventionally used building materials. More frequent renewal measures not only lead to a higher use of (primary) construction materials but also to an obstruction of traffic flow.

Within the framework of the EARN project, the influences of construction material selection and composition as well as the manufacturing conditions on durability will be investigated, especially considering construction materials with high proportions of recycled materials. For this purpose, existing databases of several European countries will be comparatively evaluated. Furthermore, laboratory tests on durability due to stresses from traffic and weather will be further developed and applied to innovative building materials with a high recycled content. The summarized evaluation of the results in a life cycle assessment can support decisions regarding the use of innovative building materials and new construction.

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