Exclusive – Repair or replace? The future of road maintenance
In recent years, the quality and condition of the UK’s road network has come into question, with Highways England receiving dedicated funds to improve road quality under their Road Investment Strategy for 2020 to 2025, known as RIS2.
When looking to make improvements in the quality of our concrete roads, it should be considered whether repairs or replacement is the most effective solution. Not only this, it is imperative that the ultimate customer is taken into consideration – the road user.
Although the travelling public is affected by the condition of roads and the need to fix troublesome potholes and deteriorating concrete surfaces, the required works to remedy these, in themselves, can add another layer of disruption to the user. Current methods of repairing failing concrete roads often involves a full replacement, which brings with it a high risk of lengthy road closure and disruption to the travelling public. Such an approach is often the result of extensive issues with the concrete surface which have not received remedial works in the interim.
In Balfour Beatty’s most recently published paper, “Tried, Tested and Proven: Vacuum Void Grouting”, we share our innovative solution for addressing the repair of concrete roads, thereby significantly reducing the need to completely replace whole sections of road. Balvac, a Balfour Beatty business, has over forty years of practice in concrete road repairs with sound, proven, engineering knowledge to provide preventative techniques to the highways industry.
Reducing the need for extensive road repairs by adopting preventative, rather than reactive repairs, not only saves money but reduces disruption to the travelling public.
Vacuum Void Grouting, a solution developed by Balvac, is a quick and effective preventative maintenance technique which limits disruption to the travelling public and can significantly reduce cost and risk of disruption when compared with traditional full concrete slab replacements. The benefits can be maximised when the intervention is taken at the optimum time, and Balvac’s progressive and innovative survey techniques can help to clearly pinpoint this opportunity.
Not only this, but preserving and repairing the road, instead of replacing it, also significantly reduces the cost of any further works, reduces the embedded carbon by up to 90% compared with full bay replacement, and extends the lifespan of the repaired area for up to a further 20 years when compared to untreated concrete pavements.
We truly believe in the importance of reducing disruption to the travelling public whilst also ensuring that we provide effective and efficient maintenance works for the UK’s road network. Prevention before cure is critical and our Vacuum Void Grouting is key to achieving these goals; avoiding disruptive replacement works, reducing cost for our customers and ultimately, ensuring that our roads are fit for the future.