Councillor Rob Humby, Executive Member for Environment and Transport at Hampshire County Council, explained:
Keeping Hampshire's roads well maintained and in good repair is a priority for the County Council - good transport infrastructure is so important not only for all our day to day journeys and the impact this has on our quality of life, but for the whole county's economic prospects.
Up until now, highways maintenance crews have had to collect fresh hot material from production plants before heading out to repair the roads. This can take up valuable time from the day's schedule and can lead to some material not being used once it has begun to cool because it needs to be at a particular heat to be used effectively.
This new piece of equipment will save both time and money. Its another way we're making sure we get the most from the resources we have, to deliver the best service we can for Hampshire's residents.
The new mobile unit has been developed by Hampshire County Council's Highways contractor, Amey, along with RSL Engineering. It can mix aggregates and bitumen - the key ingredients of road surfaces - on site. Removing the need to head to a plant for a supply of material each time it is needed, this method of 'self-delivery' leads to much greater productivity as crews are able to work on a greater number of jobs in a single day.
Amey's Account Director Paul Anderson said:
We are excited to be the first highways maintenance operators in the UK using this technology in this way. It is proving to be a far better method of asphalt production - less wasteful, cheaper and much more reliable. Because we are no longer relying on asphalt plants to be open to get our supply of material , we are also now able to work extended hours, which is good news for our customers as it means less disruption during the working day.
The units produce up to three tonnes of hot material every hour. Following positive trials, a unit is now routinely being used across Hampshire.