First case of road pavement reconstruction with 50% recycled material in Spain

The reconstruction work on the TF-1 pavement in Tenerife ended last August. Thanks to this project the flooring has been improved and is now mainly made of recycled material.

It is important to underline that the Canary Islands, and for this reason also Tenerife, present a fragmented territory due to their orography and the fact that 42% of the territory is subject to environmental protection regulations: in the Canary Islands there are strong limitations regarding the supply of raw materials necessary for the construction of large works (for example aggregates).

For this reason, the government authority of Tenerife (known as the Cabildo of Tenerife) has sought a sustainable solution for the island. In the year 2021, a tender was announced for the reconstruction of some sections of the TF-1 and TF-5 regional roads, including among the requirements the use of 50% hot RAP in the binder layer.

The project was made possible thanks to the precious collaboration between Sacyr Ingeniería and Iterchimica. The section of the TF-1 regional road involved is strategic as it goes from Santa Cruz de Tenerife to Adeje, from km 43+710 to km 80+900.

The TF-1 is a high traffic road subject to the passage of 90.000 vehicles every day, as it connects the capital Santa Cruz with the Reina Sofía international airport and the Los Cristianos port, creating a crossing point also for those they head towards the south of the island, where the main tourist attraction center is located.

With its TF-1 road proposal, Sacyr achieved the best technical score in the competition. Iterchimica provided technical support for the project. The tender envisaged a reuse of the quantity of milled material equal to 50% in the binder, thanks to the use of the regenerator Iterlene ACF 2030.

This is the first project carried out in Spain which involves the reuse of 50% of recycled material for the reconstruction of the flooring. In this case it was a corrective but also preventive intervention, as two sections with different characteristics were involved: the first presented evident deterioration while the second could have been affected in the same way in the short term.

The environmental savings achieved are evident: CO2eq emissions in the environment have been reduced by 28% and energy consumption has been reduced by 30%. Furthermore, an economic saving of 24% was calculated linked to the lack of use of new material (bitumen and aggregates), given that the use of recycled material allowed a saving of 57% of new bitumen and 63% of new aggregates, when compared with the traditional method.

The project involved the milling of the binder and wear layers. The binder was made with 50% RAP while the wear layer was created completely from scratch, given that to date Spanish legislation does not allow the use of these percentages of RAP in the wear layer.

Once the experience in Tenerife has been concluded, the need to promote recycling and circular economy practices also in the road paving sector can be affirmed, especially in territories subject to environmental protection regulations.

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