NEW ways to make road repairs more durable and fix manhole covers without using concrete are among local authority efforts to better routes for road users.

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council has teamed up with their highways service provider, VolkerHighways, to see how sustainable initiatives can be employed across the borough.

One of these projects included trialling an innovative mastic asphalt repair system, which was used to carry out works on four manhole covers at Castle Hill Roundabout in Maidenhead.

This system includes a new solution providing a flexible surface around each manhole cover, making it more resistant to cracks and damage from traffic, therefore making it last longer and provide a sustainable alternative to traditional concrete patching.

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A “first of its kind” electric road sweeper was trialled in Windsor in May with street-care specialists Urbaser and VolkerHighways.

It was the first to be commercially available in the country and was capable of delivering a full day’s work of removing litter, dirt, and leaves from public spaces on a single charge.

Royal Borough Observer: An electric road sweeper has been trialled in WindsorAn electric road sweeper has been trialled in Windsor

While this improves air quality through zero emissions, there is still work to be done to ready the infrastructure to support the electric fleet such as this.

Lastly, the council has implemented a “sophisticated” gully cleansing process to ensure materials are cleared away and are re-purposed.

This has both an environmental and a cost benefit, as traditional disposal of waste materials is significantly reduced.

Royal Borough Observer: Hanna Kemsley-GilbertHanna Kemsley-Gilbert

Solid and liquid waste is now divided into two groups, consisting of litter, stones, sand, organics, silt and water. These then pass through a series of filtering systems, which syphon off each material, until they are fully separated and ready for reuse.

Litter is recycled in the same way as standard household waste, while other by-products are used for more specific purposes, such as sand and stones for concrete aggregate, organic waste as soil treatment and oil as reclaimed fuel.

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Councillor Gerry Clark, cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, said: “I am delighted that our work with VolkerHighways is enabling the Royal Borough to lead the way on improving our impact on the environment through innovations like these.

“Our commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is embodied in our Environment and Climate strategy. Initiatives like these show that strategy in action: delivering improved services for our residents in a more environmentally-friendly way.”

The Royal Borough and VolkerHighways will pursue further sustainable initiatives over the coming months, including the use of ‘warm’ asphalt, which is produced and applied at a lower temperature, resulting in lower energy usage and fewer emissions.