Manufacturing News

Downer invests in asphalt manufacturing for sustainable roads


Downer is investing $10 million in construction of a state-of-the-art asphalt manufacturing facility in northern Tasmania, in a demonstration of its commitment to a long-term future in the state.

The new facility will replace an existing asphalt plant that’s reaching the end of its service life.

“Our two asphalt manufacturing facilities in Tasmania currently produce thousands of tonnes each year that is used to build and maintain roads right across the state,” Downer general manager Tasmania, Marcus Stephens said.

“Once the new plant is commissioned we will triple our hourly production rate, enabling Downer to service customers more efficiently.”

Stephens said in addition to boosting the state’s local manufacturing capacity, the new plant will deliver sustainability benefits to the community.

“The new plant incorporates cutting edge technology that supports production of road surfacing material with a high proportion of recyclable material,” he said. “Reconophalt is a nation-leading road surfacing product developed by Downer incorporating material that would otherwise end up in landfill. That includes soft plastics, ground glass from domestic recycling, road millings and recycled asphalt paving and waste toner.

“In producing Reconophalt we are helping communities turn their waste products into value added material and avoiding use of virgin materials. Testing has found Reconophalt to have superior performance to standard asphalt, providing an additional three years or 15 per cent to the life of road surfaces than traditional surfacing material.”

Reconophalt was first used in Tasmania in 2018 in the Kingborough municipality. Since that time, Downer has laid 10,397t of Reconophalt in the state resulting in diversion from landfill of:

  • 6,476,000 plastic bag equivalents;
  • Toner from 189,000 toner cartridges;
  • 2,629,000 glass bottles; and
  • 960 tonnes of recycled asphalt paving material.

The new plant is expected to be commissioned early in 2023.

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