News - Recycled, silent, and safer eco-asphalt: testing gets the go ahead

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LIFE15 ENV/IT/000268


Recycled, silent, and safer eco-asphalt: testing gets the go ahead

This summer the experimentation of the European Project Nereide, coordinated by the University of Pisa, starts from the Town of Massarosa, in the province of Lucca


Low-noise draining wear layers with recycled materials: the project Nereide – Noise Efficiently REduced by recycleD pavements – gets to the heart of its experimentation starting from next summer. This project sees the commitment of the Department of Civil Engineering of the University of Pisa, in collaboration with the Belgian Research Centre BRRC, Ecopneus, the Institute of acoustics and sensoristics “Orso Mario Corbino” and Region Tuscany, with the partnership of Arpat, (the Regional Body for the Environmental Protection of the Region Tuscany). The town of Massarosa, in the province of Lucca, will pioneer the project. The first stretch of pavement obtained with this new eco-friendly bitumen conglomerate will be laid there. The aim is to evaluate its quality and measure the reduction of noise pollution, an invisible enemy that disturbs many people’s mind and sleep. About 125 million citizens are daily exposed to excessive levels of traffic noise in Europe alone, with the risk of suffering serious health consequences, as highlighted by the World’s Health Organization on many occasions.

However, the project is wider and makes reference also to the environment: indeed, by recycling waste materials, the amount of waste that ought to be disposed of or recovered in other ways diminishes. Not only. The production and laying of this type of pavement is made with a “warm” technology. This allows a 30% reduction in the emissions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons fumes in the air. Moreover, this project deals also with road safety, as the material the new road surface is made of will be able to guarantee high levels of grip.

After its laying in the Tuscan town, the pavement will be tested both from a structural and functional point of view, and from an acoustic one, by the means of a vehicle equipped ad hoc with specific tools and the administering of about 700 questionnaires to the citizens of the interested area.

Nereide has been financed by the European Community within the scope of the programme “LIFE”. It will see both Tuscany and Brussels involved until 2020. As explained by Arpat, the expectation is to be able to recycle a total of 24,000 kg of rubber from End-of-Life Tyres; to obtain better noise performance in urban areas, i.e.: reduce noise pollution by at least 5 dB(A) compared to traditional paving; to improve air pollution and reduce the workers’ exposure during the laying of the paving.

Arpat specifies that, to achieve these results, starting from this summer and in the course of the next 3 years, the following is expected: “the characterisation of the pavements and of the used materials; the laying of 2,450 metres of roads on six surfaces in Tuscany and one on Belgium; the laying of 2,800 metres of roads on seven different surfaces in another area of Tuscany to verify what learnt and improve the same roads by the means of the use of recycled asphalts; the monitoring of ante- and post-operam performances even by the means of the evaluation of the psychoacoustic effects on the local population; the verification of the impact of the asphalt laying on air pollution to evaluate the reduction of PAH emissions”.
Professor Pietro Leandri of the University of Pisa specifies that: “Nereide provides for the design, realization and monitoring of the acoustic and functional performances of low-noise draining road surfaces made with materials coming from old pavements and rubber powder recycled from End-of-Life Tyres. Professor Leandri concludes saying that: “In summer 2018, the experimentation in Tuscany will involve also another place and, in collaboration with the Belgian Road Research Centre, we shall experiment a PERS-type pavement (i.e.: porous) for the first time in Italy. This will be made with a synthetic binder and a content of rubber granules equivalent to at least 20% of its weight. This will allow to obtain even greater noise reduction, up to 12 dB(A), compared to conventional pavements, with levels of noise reduction that cannot be reached by any other type of pavement".


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