Recycled Material for Road Maintenance Grading

Lead Organisation

Muswellbrook Shire Council

Case Study Background

Civil infrastructure projects including road repairs and upgrades generate large amounts of waste material that contribute to landfill waste. To avoid this, Muswellbrook council have in recent years implemented an initiative to repurpose waste materials, such as road base and aggregates, sourced from sealed road repair works in their gravel road maintenance.

The Vision

The aims of the project were:

  1. To reduce the demand for virgin materials for gravel road maintenance.
  2. Minimise volume of waste materials generated from sealed road repair works sent to landfill.
  3. Lower operational costs associated with gravel road maintenance.
  4. Decrease the carbon footprint and environmental impact of road maintenance activities by reusing materials.
  5. Contributing to the overall quality of gravel roads and safety of the local community
  6. Supporting principles of a circular economy by reusing materials within local infrastructure project.

Benefits and Results

Muswellbrook Shire Council has significantly reduced their need for purchasing new resources for gravel road maintenance, with 90% of materials needed for this sourced from the waste produced by other road works. For example, over 1000 tonnes of materials from the upgrade the intersection of Thompson Street and the New England Highway in Muswellbrook, which began in early 2021 and was completed in 2023, have been repurposed in St Heliers Road maintenance grading works. Additionally, several rural road maintenance grading projects were undertaken in a similar period with material obtained from heavy patching works on the Golden Highway. Examples of gravel roads maintained, and the amount of waste material repurposed for each include:

  • Muscle Creek Rd – 950 tonnes
  • Albano Rd – 800 tonnes
  • Beggary Creek Rd – 200 tonnes
  • Turnermans Road – 350 tonnes

This project is an excellent example of how a circular economy approach has both environmental and economic benefits. At Muswellbrook Shire council the success of this project will pave the way for exploring opportunities to embed circular economy principles in other aspects of road maintenance and construction.