Corby, UK - In a well-attended event last week, Holdfast Rubber Highways introduced the nation's media to a dual-use roadway, in which heavy rubber blocks are laid around a light rail system, with the result that cars and light trucks can drive along the trackway, at the same time as light rail vehicles can use the tracks.
The company was not offering to solve issues about logistics and detailed design, but was demonstrating a technology that traffic planners could use to solve congestion on existing roads, by using disused railway lines, said managing director, Peter Coates-Smith. The system is relatively cheap to install. Experienced teams can install up to 60 metres of single-track roadway in a day. The demonstration track used on 1 June was 300 m long and took under a week to lay on top of the existing rail tracks.
The blocks weigh up to 200 kg each, and are made from recycled car tyres bonded together with a polyurethane/isocyanate bonding agent. UK-based Rosehill Polymers makes the blocks in a cold process that takes around 30 minutes to form each unit.
Rosehill said standard tyre recyclate is too variable to be used in the blocks without blending, so the company has a number of bins, each containing different sizes of tyre granulate and also the buffings ground off tyre carcasses during the retreading process. Rosehill uses a proprietary combination of these various materials to fill a mould, and then adds a liquid polyurethane binder at about 18 percent by weight. The next step is to apply a lid to the open mould and push it down with a hydraulic ram.
The 300m-long trial track was funded by the UK WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) unit, which contributed Â£250 000 (â‚¬360 000), most of which, said Steve Waite, Tyres Material Project Manager at WRAP, was used to pay for the blocks. Altogether about 120 tonnes of blocks were used. Coates-Smith said he used standard panels used from Holdfast's existing level crossing business. These are 1.8m long and weigh up to 200 kg, but Coates-Smith said if were to make new moulds, then the panels could be up to 5m long.
Waite added that if just 40 miles of Holdfast track could be laid each year, that would absorb up to 5 percent of the UK scrap tyre arisings per year.
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