15 January 2018
We are sure you have all noticed the state of the current road infrastructure while on your way to work. The snow and freezing conditions that we have suffered on and off in the latter parts of 2017 has meant more and more damage to our regular routes. More traffic damage is also being caused and the roads have become more susceptible to the wear and tear of every day driving. In fact, potholes are becoming common place and are often the reason for complaints to councils as drivers damage their tyres and buckle their wheels.
On top of this we have the underlying geology as well as the age, composition and starting condition of our roads. Councils have been strapped for cash and only the most urgent routes are being resurfaced which then puts a strain on the smaller roads and streets.
We are being told that climate change is affecting everything, unfortunately this also means our road infrastructure. The combination of extra heat in the summer and wetter / colder winters is definitely having a long term effect. As weather patterns become more erratic we are suffering extremes of weather including flooding. Water, especially when frozen, can cause immediate damage to asphalt and can damage the whole composition of a road.
Nevertheless, there are initiatives about that are trying to address exactly these types of issue. The European Forever Open Road initiative seeks to record how all these factors affect our roads, having this information available is crucial to finding out how we can develop new technologies and materials to perform better and hopefully longer. Additionally we must not forget that our road infrastructure must also adhere to the requirements of recycling and the environment. However this new data driven approach will allow road builders to find better products to build more resilient roads that play their part within the environment.