The road construction industry can contribute to the circular economy by creating sustainable roads for a sustainable society, writes Melissa Lyons, Senior Professional Leader, the Australian Road Research Board.
Metro Trains Melbourne recently altered their specifications to include the use of recycled materials.
The new specifications enable more than 900 tonnes of recycled glass sand to be used as bedding for the combined service route on the Kororoit Creek Road Level Crossing Removal Project.
Kororoit Creek Road is part of the VicRoads Principal Freight Network thoroughfare in Victoria’s west, taking more than 22,000 cars to Laverton, Williams, Altona and beyond.
The Level Crossing Removal Project along with the Western Program Alliance undertook a grade separation at Kororoit Creek Road (placing rail over road at Williamstown North), comprising McConnell Dowell, Arup, Mott McDonald and Metro Trains Melbourne.
Alex Fraser’s recycled sand was used as bedding material for the combined services conduit housing the communications and power cables.
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Rebecca Hendy, Senior Sustainability Advisor for the Western Program Alliance said the decision to choose recycled product over virgin material was simple.
“We found a recycled, low embodied energy material that could aptly replace virgin sand; with all 900 tonnes diverted from landfill and delivered at a lower cost. It was a simple decision,” she said.
The Level Crossing Removal Project set a target for the Western Program Alliance to achieve an ‘Excellent’ sustainability rating – measured by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia’s rating tool – which rewards the use of recycled material.
MTM Environment and Sustainability Manager Christian Beasley said Metro Trains Melbourne now encourages all projects installing new CSR or drainage to use recycled products.
“We have access to a great new sustainable product we can use on all metropolitan railways (Metro Trains Melbourne network). Because it is a Metro Trains Melbourne specification it can be applied without requiring approval on all metropolitan railways combined service routes and drainage bedding,” said Christian.
Alex Fraser Sales Manager Jason Walsh said clear specifications were the key to increasing the use of sustainable, recycled products in new infrastructure.
“We’ve seen that recycling works best when government agencies clearly endorse the use of recycled materials in specifications. This enables the people building our infrastructure to use green products that reduce their project’s carbon footprint.
“The Kororoit Creek Road Level Crossing Removal Project is a great example of what needs to happen to achieve a circular economy around rail infrastructure materials. Congratulations to the teams at the Level Crossing Removal Project the Western Program Alliance for this initiative; especially Rebecca and Christian who enabled a change that will bring about better outcomes for the community and environment,” Mr Walsh said.
Over the years, Green Roads by Alex Fraser has diverted almost one million tonnes of glass from landfill to supply recycled glass sand (in asphalt, road base and pipe bedding) to a variety of Victorian road and infrastructure projects.
The upcoming launch of Alex Fraser’s new state-of-the-art glass recycling plant will enable recycling of even the most problematic glass waste streams (like CSP) into into clean, high-specification construction sand; putting an end to landfill and stockpiling of glass in Victoria.
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