Colas has installed a dedicated fixed-base mobile asphalt plant specifically for use in Area 14.
This is the first time ever that a joint venture partnership has provided a dedicated asphalt plant to an HE MAC (Managed Asset Contract).
Until now, Colas has used its high capacity mobile asphalt plants on major projects such as the Rockingham Raceway and recent extension to Birmingham International Airport’s main runway and associated rerouting of the A45. The new asphalt plant will be used specifically by the company to produce and supply material for resurfacing and construction work in Area 14 which covers Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Durham and North Yorkshire.
Construction of the plant, which represents an investment of more than £2.5 million including ground-works – began in July at Battleship Wharf, Port of Blyth, Northumberland. The facility is now fully operational and is capable of producing up to 300t of high quality asphalt per hour.
Colas executive director John Thompson said: “It was our decision to establish an asphalt plant in Blyth based on expectations that Highways England had for its supply chain. It needed to increase its resources to meet forecast future demand. Colas will be supplying the majority of material in Area 14.”
Deployment of a dedicated plant close to the point of use helps mitigate any uncertainty associated with domestic asphalt supply, with the added benefit that the environmental and social impacts of lorry movements are reduced.
The forecast increase in demand for asphalt also played a part in Colas’ decision to mitigate under capacity of raw materials in the UK by importing aggregate by sea, using the nearby Blyth docks.
Quality control is assured by an on-site mobile laboratory which monitors particle size distribution and shape of the imported aggregate as well as the asphalt output from the plant.