Great Valley Trail asphalt surfaced using recycled materials

Published: 4 November 2022
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Product

Recycled content asphalt

Product name and supplier

Rich River Asphalt

Recycled material/s contained in product

Ground rubber, glass cullet

Percentage of recycled material in product

15%

Total amount of recycled materials used

355 tonnes (237 tonnes of ground rubber sourced from Tyre Crumb in Broadmeadows, 118 tonnes of glass cullet sourced from ASQ in Bendigo, collected from householder glass recycling bins in Macedon Ranges Shire Council and the City of Greater Bendigo).

Product specifications and standards

Alpine Shire Council Asphalt Specification – Great Valley Trail

Location

Bright and Harrietville

Project background

The Alpine Shire Council surfaced the 16km Great Valley Trail with an asphalt containing 15% recycled rubber and glass. The shared trail completes a 27-kilometre link between Harrietville and Bright, extending the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail to the base of the Alps.

Traditional practice has been to spray seal the path, but this method does not allow the use of recycled materials in the same proportions as recycled content asphalt. The new surface contains 355 tonnes of recycled rubber and finely crushed glass that would otherwise end up in landfill.

This project has provided Alpine Shire Council with the opportunity to use a new product in a location where its performance can be evaluated, and the prospect of this product becoming the standard treatment for the shire’s entire path network. It is also a first step towards the council considering this type of product for its road network, which would see a substantial use of recyclable material and contribute towards Victoria’s transition to a circular economy.

This project demonstrates the circular economy at work - rubber and glass are diverted from landfill and used to improve the longevity and performance of infrastructure. 

Procurement information

The Alpine Shire Council tendered for the supply and lay of asphalt for the Great Valley Trail, specifying the use of asphalt that incorporated a high proportion of recycled materials, detailing suitable recycled products and their desired minimum percentages.

The product was cost competitive when compared with standard asphalt and is reported to provide superior performance over whole of life costs.

Installation and product performance

Alpine Shire Council found that the recycled content asphalt was easy to work with and lay. The recycled content asphalt mix is designed to increase durability and resistance to cracking, while allowing a reduction in asphalt thickness. This project demonstrates that it can be laid successfully at a compacted thickness of 25mm in light duty applications. This thinner layer means using less material, which results in both environmental and economic benefits.

The smooth, high-quality surface is very desirable from a user perspective, and feedback on the trail has been overwhelmingly positive.

“It is a magnificent ride and is a fantastic addition to the safe off-road cycling network. The riding surface is amazing, and the scenery is spectacular.”
Local resident, Alpine Shire Council.
“The trail has been well planned to include many beautiful sections along the river and the extra funding the shire obtained for the smooth seal, after community consultation, make it a very pleasant ride.”
Local resident Alpine Shire Council.

Lifecycle monitoring and maintenance

In the short term the success of the project has been demonstrated through the positive community and visitor feedback that has been received to date.

Performance of the product will be monitored in the longer term through routine inspections of the trail in accordance with Council’s Road Management Plan. The collection of this data will allow Alpine Shire Council to consider life cycle costs, maintenance activities, renewal requirements, user experience and sustainability to inform future pavement surfacing decisions.

More information

For more information about this project, email sustainableprocurement@sustainability.com.au.

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