A Sustainable Approach to Road Safety
South Tyneside Council is further boosting its green credentials by exploring the use of more sustainable materials as part of its highways' maintenance programme.
New prefabricated 'one-piece' speed cushions have been installed in South Shields where existing traffic calming measures needed replacement.
The surface-mounted units with a bolt-down design, are manufactured in the UK from recycled rubber and have been fitted as an alternative to the more carbon intensive Asphalt-type material.
The new product was recently used to replace the cushions in River Drive and Bents Park Road. It is also installed in Bamburgh Avenue and Lizard Lane.
South Tyneside Council declared a climate emergency in July 2019, pledging to take all necessary steps to become a carbon neutral authority by 2030. It also set a three-year target to cut carbon emissions by 4,285 tonnes by March 2023 and is already two thirds of the way to achieving this figure.
Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety at South Tyneside Council, said: "As we drive forward our climate change ambitions, we are always looking at innovative new ways of operating, from delivering energy improvements and carbon reduction measures in our buildings to using more sustainable products where we can.
"As the Council's highway is our largest asset, it is important we review the materials and treatments we use to build and maintain our roads and footpaths and to consider new products that come onto the market.
"This new product is made from recycled materials and is a more sustainable alternative to the bitumen-based cushions, which need to be formed on site and left to cool. It is also more durable, which helps to reduce maintenance costs in the future.
"As the cushions are prefabricated, they can be simply bolted into place. This makes installation, repairs and replacements quicker and easier, in turn reducing disruption to traffic.
"We have used the new product on roads where traffic calming measures already exist and needed replacing. We will now be looking closely at how it performs on the different road surfaces to determine whether they can be suitably used elsewhere in the Borough."
The Council is also exploring the potential use of Warm Mix Asphalt in its highways maintenance programme. This material is manufactured at a lower temperature than the currently used asphalt mixes.
The use of new sustainable products not only contributes to the Council's climate change ambitions but supports the Council to deliver on one of its key priorities of investing in the natural and built environment.