A company based in England is developing a surface that can be used in the construction of roads and railways. The material is made from shredded car
A 300m (980ft) demonstration track, funded by the not-for-profit Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap), has been built at a car depot in Corby,
Over eight weeks, more than 8,000 cars will drive over the surface to make sure it can stand up to wear and tear.
However, Mr Coates Smith, the managing director of Holdfast, said he was more interested in seeing how quickly the road could be laid.
"It took four men five days to put down 300m of road," he said. "The panels we'd be using [in the future] are three times as long, so you can
imagine 900m in five days."
We're talking about £1.4m per mile compared with £20m per mile for a new road," said Mr Coates Smith.
The Highways Agency disputes these costs. They say that £20m buys you a mile of 3-lane motorway, complete with a hard shoulder, rather than just a
single-lane rubber highway.
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The limitations of the 80km/h speed limit and the narrow size of the material would prevent the material from being used in the construction of
freeways and other areas of high traffic density in first world cities. Assuming that any problems that arise during testing are solved it would be
foolish to rule out other uses for the material.
In first world cities where there are areas of low traffic density the material could be used when new roads are laid. A good good example of this
would be the roads that are laid in new housing estates they arent much wider then the footpaths.
The benfit to thrid world countries would be the ablity to link resources with areas of commerce. Many resources in thrid world countries go untapped
due to inaccessibility.
Areas in need of disaster relief could also benfit from a transport system that can be constructed quickly even if it is only on a temporary basis.
One potential problem yet to be explored is the total cost of ownership. Nobody is going to bother with this material if it costs more to maintain
then current roads and railways.
On a personal note I would love to more sections of the UK rail network reopened after being victims of the Beeching axe.
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[edit on 1-6-2006 by xpert11]
[edit on 1-6-2006 by intrepid]