A $3 million research grant from the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment could save the country as much as $80 million a year. Opus International Consultants Limited’s successful research proposal aims to significantly reduce annual maintenance and construction costs to New Zealand roading authorities by combating water damage to road surfaces and underlying pavement layers. The focus of the research will be on the development of novel waterproofing materials and innovative road construction methods.
Around 90% of New Zealand’s roads consist of thin chip seal layers constructed over a compacted gravel basecourse layer. Unfortunately these seals leak, even when multiple layers are used. Opus will be looking to develop a flexible, oxidation resistant and water impermeable membrane to form a waterproof barrier between the conventional surfacing layers and the underlying pavement.
New Zealand currently spends about $1.2 billion a year on road maintenance. With up to a third of this currently being spent to combat water damage, Opus’ research promises to save a lot of money in the future.