Colas – the first and last stop

Colas leads the UK market with surfacing solutions designed to reduce cost and increase efficiency through the use of technology, research and development.

Microasphalt is a widely used process and was recently specified at Henley in Arden in Warwickshire

Colas has unveiled a new corporate approach that will demonstrate to existing and future clients how they can tap into the contractor’s innovation skill set to cut costs and increase efficiency. The company has been a mainstay of the roads industry for decades but in the UK has never fully revealed the breadth and depth of its expertise and knowledge.

“We are an intelligent service provider,” says UK Chief Executive Lee Rushbrooke. “We can do the basic maintenance the same as our competitors but that is far from all. We can also help our customers solve problems in areas like asset value and project management. And we offer a technical engineering ability backed by systems technology that helps our clients work out the best answer for their assets.

“Our new corporate approach was realised with the launch of a new brand. It is designed to make sure that our clients know that and understand what we can do for their businesses.”

Highlighting the company’s product innovations is a key plank of its relaunch. Colas has 130 patents registered for surface treatment products, the outcome of a long standing and extensive research and development effort made possible by the resources of the larger Colas International Group, and all tried and proven in use.

Sustainability is a key market driver and a major concern of clients these days, which brings cold applied low carbon products into focus. Colas has seen increasing interest in its high sustainability scoring microasphalts and recycling products in particular; a 10 year contract with the Stockport and Trafford Alliance was awarded in 2009 which features use of microasphalts.

Colas has three microasphalt products for carriageways – Bitutex, Bitumac and Ralumac. The first two are thin veneer surfacings recommended to seal the existing surface, preventing the ingress of water and improve skid resistance; and also sometimes to reduce traffic noise as a small, 6mm to 10mm, aggregate is typically used.

About 90% of the demand for these products though is for Ralumac, an on site mixed, cold applied dense asphalt containing polymer modified bitumen. This is recommended where wheel rutting or cracking is evident and is especially useful for accessing restricted sites and high speed sites with heavier levels of traffic.

“It can be used to regulate the surface,” says Business Development Manager in the Highways Division Mike Todd, ”and it can usually be trafficked in 20 minutes or even in five minutes on a breezy summer day. There is minimal loose chippings and skid resistance is very good. It is suitable for any type of road, including most A roads.”

Other benefits include a reduced carbon footprint as there are fewer site traffic movements (which also minimises disruption to local communities), reduced carbon emissions as it is a cold product and less road traffic noise.

There are also three microasphalt products in the range for use on footways Pavecoat, Bitutex FP and Paveseal. Pavecoat is the most used. It is hard wearing, rapid curing and suitable for cracked pavements. It can be used above any asphalt or macadam surface and on top of concrete as an improved surface. “This is another cold product with low energy use and all of the associated sustainability and other advantages,” says Mr Todd. “It provides a highly cost effective, smart uniformed finish where deterioration has been significant.”

Bitutex FP, a rapid setting, high quality hand applied slurry surfacing, comes into its own if the requirement is for a cost effective means  of improving the aesthetics and sealing the existing surface – perhaps a car park or a road – that might have been heavily patched but is in otherwise reasonably sound condition. Paveseal is a premium fibre enhanced slurry surfacing especially suitable for sites that require regulating or where worn concrete surfaces need refurbishing.

“All of these products provide cost effective and technically sound maintenance solutions which will deliver service for up to
10 years,” says Mr Todd.

Colas is market leader in road recycling with a range of solutions suitable for any site including Repave, Retread and Deep Recycling. Repave is a hot in situ recycling process for rejuvenating and resurfacing existing surface courses on carriageways
and airfields, the only in situ surface course recycling process currently available in the UK.

It has been established in the industry for more than 30 years and is a recognised solution for surface course recycling for carriageways and airfields. It has been used on a number of Highways Agency projects, including on motorways.

Retread is a cold in situ road recycling process, in use for over 40 years for both carriageways and footways. As it is an in situ process movements to and from the site are significantly reduced. It can be applied to many hard to reach areas across urban and rural landscapes without disrupting the local community or impacting local traffic. Other benefits include cost and time savings, lower energy use and lower carbon emissions.

Deep Recycling is an alternative to conventional reconstruction, a fast, economical cold reconstruction process which reconstructs the entire road surface or haunches to a depth of 150mm to 350mm. The reclaimed materials are mixed either in situ or off site with new material as required.

Deep Recycling is the cost effective preferred solution for reducing waste to landfill and energy use. Material samples are taken for off site testing and nuclear density tests are carried out to control the compaction on site guaranteeing quality control and ensuring that mixes are produced to the standard required to offer the same life expectancy as a conventional reconstruction.

On site, the existing material is planed off and transported to a recycling compound, preferably nearby. The material is then crushed and screeded before being mixed with the binders creating the design mix according to TRL 611 using a recycling mixing plant. The material is laid through a conventional paver to the required depth and compacted before being overlaid with conventional asphalt course material. Quality control off site and level control on site are benefits of this process and tar bound materials can also be treated following all environmental regulations.

“Our product range can be seen as a toolkit where clients can select the precise solution for their needs,” concludes Mr Todd. “Whatever the problem or combination of problems, we have a solution.”

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