Paving the way with recycled glass on the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade

21 June 2019

The Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade project team is finding new ways to improve sustainability during construction of Australia’s largest regional infrastructure project.

Roads and Maritime Service
s Acting Director Northern Vicky Sisson said the project team recently completed two successful pavement trials with recycled glass incorporated into the concrete mix.

Ms Sisson said a grant for the trials was awarded by the NSW Environment Protection Authority and were delivered on the upgrade between Broadwater and Pimlico.

“Recycled glass has previously been used for ramps and drainage but this is the first time it has been used on the main carriageway on the Pacific Highway,” she said.

“The glass was collected locally from Lismore City Council’s waste collection system, which includes household recycling bins and Return and Earn stations.

“After being sorted, the glass was crushed into sand at Council’s material recovery facility, delivered to onsite batch plants for cleaning before being mixed with sand, and used in the normal concreting process.”

Ms Sisson said the recycled glass sand was used in place of sand quarried for this purpose, reducing material consumption and waste at the same time.

“The mix meets Roads and Maritime Services’ specifications for concrete pavement and will be tested for quality in the same way as traditional concrete pavement,” she said.

“The good news is this mix will not require any additional maintenance.

“It’s exciting to see this new market grow and it is hoped recycled glass is used on more NSW road projects in the near future.”

NSW Environment Protection Authority’s Executive Director for Waste and Resource Recovery, Carmen Dwyer, said the $107,636 grant was awarded through the ‘Waste Less, Recycle More’ program which aims to stimulate new investment and transform waste and recycling across the state.

“Working with large organisations in the civil construction industry creates great opportunities to reduce landfill and support new markets and opportunities for recyclable materials, reducing the impact of changes in the global recycling market,” Ms Dwyer said.

“These grants aim to foster innovative thinking while removing the potential risks associated with implementing new processes.”

Ms Sisson said the recycled glass pavement trials completed in May are one of many similar initiatives on the project, including harvesting waste water from work sites to suppress dust.

“Other initiatives include using cleared mulch for sediment controls, reusing rock and dirt cut from one site to fill other sections, and fuelling a biomass-fired power generator with green waste,” she said.

“More than 500 root systems and 800 timber pins recovered from the vegetation removal process have also been reused to stabilise local river banks and restore fish habitats.

“Initiatives like this demonstrate there is a place for sustainable construction practices and it’s really exciting to see what new ideas and innovations are on the horizon.”

The Australian and NSW governments are jointly funding the $4.95 billion Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade on an 80:20 basis.

For more information about the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade, contact the project team on 1800 778 900 (dial 1) or email




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