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France drives asphalt innovation with recycled road

The French company Vinci Construction has built what’s claimed to be the world’s first stretch of motorway made entirely from recycled materials.

The A10 motorway between Pons and Saint Aubin in southwest France now includes a one-kilometre stretch of ‘recycled road’. Most of the material came from other redundant roads and this is said to be the beginning of a much larger project.

A mobile recycling plant was constructed to produce upwards of 3 000 tonnes of asphalt on-site. Because the project relies on recycled resources, no trucks had to drive back and forth between stone quarries. Greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by around 50%, says Maxence Naouri of Vinci Construction subsidiary Eurovia. The company was supported by a subsidiary, Vinci Autoroutes.

The venture was also backed by Marini-Ermont (Fayat group), which delivered the continuous asphalt plant named TRX100%. This recycling represents a big leap forward compared to France’s current asphalt recycling rate of around 60%.

People have reported no noticeable changes while driving on the new surface since the ‘recycled motorway’ opened at the start of November. This innovative research project won a ‘Route to the Future’ award from the French Environment & Energy Management Agency.

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