Plastic kerbstones made from recycled materials have been installed as part of a new cycleway to help people travel in and out of Wokingham town centre.
Work along London Road in Wokingham is nearing completion, with residents now able to cycle from the Coppid Beech roundabout/A329M interchange to the centre of town on the off-road path.
Work on the other side of the street, travelling out of town, is due for completion within the next month. Once this is finished, the road will be resurfaced overnight during the autumn to minimise disruption to residents.
Wokingham Borough Council has been working alongside contractor VolkerHighways to trial more eco-friendly options on the roads.
Using plastic kerbs reduces the amount of carbon produced in manufacturing, transport and construction by about 40 per cent compared to concrete kerbing.
Easy and quick to install
Plastic kerbing, which looks almost identical to concrete kerbs, contains about 88 per cent recycled material and is cut with hand tools so, unlike concrete, it does not create crystalline silica dust.
As the kerbs weigh less than traditional materials, it also reduces handling injury risks and can be installed without the need for mechanical equipment.
The plastic kerbs will be trialled on London Road, as well as other high-use roads, to see how they stand up to use, and will be monitored over a period of time.
The council may also look to trial other areas, such as drop kerbs for new access points, to see how they perform. As part of the trial, the council will review the performance and resilience of the kerbing along with the environmental benefits.
Hitting environmental targets
“With just a few weeks left to go, I hope to see many residents making the most of this cycleway in the months ahead once it’s complete,” said Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, executive member for highways and transport.
“We’re already seeing people take advantage of the route into Wokingham from the Coppid Beech roundabout. We continue to try and innovate where we can on the highways and these plastic kerb trials are another example of a greener solution by effectively using recycled materials.”
Alistair Thompson, managing director of VolkerHighways, said: “It’s great to work with a forward-thinking council, that’s focused on meeting environmental targets. We’ll be working closely with the council to assess the viability of a wider roll out of this new eco-friendly material.”
Get on your bike
Work on London Road follows previous extensive work on the A329 and through the borough, to encourage residents to use more sustainable ways of getting around.
The aim is not only to save residents money and improve their health, but also to help reduce congestion and improve air quality.
Providing residents with the infrastructure to make more sustainable transport choices is vital in the council's efforts to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.
It follows the completion of work between Aspen Place and Station Approach, in Wokingham, including major work on the kerbs and re-aligning the carriageway. This was the most recent phase of the works and took place in 2017.
A new national cycle route
It follows previous phases of the work between the Three Tuns, in Earley, and just beyond Winnersh Crossroads between 2014 and 2016.
Once it is completed, the new route links Newbury, Reading, Wokingham, Bracknell and Ascot – forming a new National Cycle Route (NCN422). It will fulfil Wokingham Borough Council’s commitment to provide a portion of the new national cycle route between Reading and Windsor Great Park.
“We continue to increase our use of recycled products across the council and its construction projects,” said Cllr Gregor Murray, executive member for climate emergency.
“Trials such as this are an important step as we continue to drive our carbon footprint down and be a carbon neutral borough by 2030. Providing cycling infrastructure such as this helps achieve this goal too by making it easier for people to get out of their cars and into town easily by bike.”
Photo - Cllr Gregor Murray and Cllr Pauline Jorgensen demonstrate how much lighter these kerbstones are.