Council Trials Australian First in Waste Tyre Road Sealing Technology

In an Australian first, Ararat Rural City Council has carried out new road sealing technology trials using a circular road solution to improve road efficiency within the community.

The innovative method utilises recycled tyre rubber as both a modifier for bitumen binder and a substitute for traditional aggregates. It marks a significant advance in sustainable road construction practices and has the potential to increase the number of waste tyres being used on our rural road network by 10 times.

Council’s recent adoption of a Graded Aggregate Seal (GAS) has already demonstrated notable benefits, including improved road durability, reduced maintenance needs, and elimination of dust emissions for local landowners.

In collaboration with Inroads, a specialised bituminous pavement firm based in Wimmera, Ararat has implemented this novel approach on a 500-metre stretch of Garden Gully Road. Unlike previous methods, which mainly used crumbed rubber as a bitumen enhancer, this new technique blends waste tyre chips directly with quarry aggregates to form the road surface. Specifically, the treatment replaces 10% of conventional bitumen with crumbed rubber and substitutes 25% of the aggregate with 14mm rubber chips. This application has effectively utilised 12 tonnes of rubber crumb and chips, diverting 2000 tyres from landfill.

The tyre chips, sourced from a Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA) accredited recycler in Victoria, underwent rigorous testing to ensure compatibility with hot bitumen and durability under wheel track conditions. Initial tests confirmed excellent bitumen adhesion and wear resistance, when combined with virgin aggregate from Western Quarries in Ararat. Prior to application, the rubber chips were blended with precoated aggregate at the quarry’s onsite laboratory to maintain consistency.

Looking ahead, Inroads has applied for funding from TSA to extend this sustainable road treatment to an additional 2km of gravel roads in 2024. This expansion will facilitate ongoing monitoring and testing, with the aim of promoting wider adoption across municipalities in Western Victoria.

“Council’s new road seal trials epitomise the efficiency and community benefit we aim for with all infrastructure improvements,” said Ararat Rural City Council CEO Dr Tim Harrison. “It promotes environmental stewardship by repurposing waste resources tenfold, and underscores our commitment to sustainable development.”

/Public Release. View in full here.