National Highways are planning a graphene highway resurfacing project on the A1 in Northumberland. The development, dubbed the “world first” scheme, National Highways is moving to the “revolutionary” material to determine whether it prolongs the road’s lifespan. If so, the operational life of key road features could be extended by a number of years using the high-tech product, reducing the number of roadworks and making trips for road users more reliable and smoother.
The graphene highway resurfacing project test will take place on the northbound carriageway 5km distance from Newton on the Moor to West Cawledge, south of Alnwick, between 19 September and 1 November. National Highways asset needs manager Graeme Watt commented that it is an exciting moment for National Highways who are constantly striving to improve the journeys of the customers and graphene has real potential to do that.
The trials in the laboratory have been a successful and the on-site trials in Northumberland will be a world first use of graphene in road production, which enforces the commitment to innovation and pushing the industry towards more carbon-friendly maintenance and longer-lasting solutions which we all benefit from.
Graphene’s advantages are industry-changing. It’s stronger than steel, so when it is added to other materials can transform them into super materials. From the already done trials the scheme could make some of the assets last significantly longer. National Highways is carrying out the tests at The University of Manchester with the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) and Pavement Testing Services (PTS).
To carry out the resurfacing better and safely, the northbound carriageway will be closed 24/7. The traffic will be on the southbound carriageway, running in a contraflow, one lane in each direction. National Highways will also be revamping both A1 carriageways between Purdy Lodge and Detchant, although this work is not part of the graphene highway resurfacing project.