Construction of a test road with recycled demolition materials

The Ministry of Equipment and Housing will start the construction of a pilot experimental road integrating recycled materials from the demolition of buildings and public works (BTP). This project was the subject of a cooperation agreement signed on Wednesday, August 17, 2022 in Tunis between the Ministry of Equipment and the Center for Studies and Expertise on Risks, Environment, Mobility and Improvement (Cerema), a French public institution.

The construction of this pilot road is part of the project “Application of Innovation for the development of a circular economy for sustainable construction in the Mediterranean” (RE-MED). With a funding of 3.1 million euros, 90% of which is funded by the European Union (EU), RE-MED is involved in four countries, namely Tunisia, France, Italy and Lebanon. After all, the project also provides for the application of innovative techniques such as Building Information Modeling and 3D diagnosis by drone.

Presenting the components of the project, the equipment minister, Sarra Zaafrani Zenzeri, stated that it consists of two road sections of 1 km each. The first, which will serve as a control section, will be built with conventional materials, while the second, an experimental model, will be built with recycled materials from demolition and construction waste. The two sections will be the subject of comparison and behavioral monitoring using new technologies, the minister stressed, adding that a guide to the recovery of construction and demolition waste in road infrastructure will be prepared.

The road subject of the experiment is the section of the national road No. 3, from Pk 9 to Pk 11, located in Ben Arous Governorate, she indicated, recalling that the project was validated during the meeting. 2022. Zafrani points out that the choice of this route is based on very specific characteristics. It is a 2×2 carriageway that allows for traffic, in addition to the absence of an ongoing maintenance project and proximity to natural aggregate production areas, she added. The anarchic accumulation of construction, demolition and construction waste flows in municipal landfills, in wild landfills, in streets and public spaces, has resulted in pollution of the ecosystem and significant damage to the aesthetic urban.

This anarchy is sometimes the main and direct cause of flooding in cities, according to the minister. And to continue that the development of an integrated management of construction, demolition and construction waste (DC&D) at optimized costs is a prerequisite for the success of this activity that will allow the creation and development of a new waste market for reuse. For example, the rationalization of natural resources and the emergence of new technologies, the development of public-private partnerships in the green economy, the creation of SMEs and sustainable jobs will promote the transition to a green economy, emphasizes the minister.

RE-MED, which is part of the largest European cross-border cooperation program with Mediterranean countries, is carried out by Cerema. Various sites and departments in the target countries are working together to implement this project. These are the University of Palermo (Italy), the Tunisian Ministry of the Environment, the Center for Test and Construction Techniques, Afrique Travaux, the Lebanese Ministry of the Environment, the Lebanese Union of Public Building Contractors and the American University of Beirut.

The Higher Institute of Water Sciences and Techniques of Gabès, the National School of Engineers of Tunisia and the National Institute of Standardization and Industrial Property are also partners involved in this project.

In Tunisia, construction and demolition waste collected in the country since 2000 has reached approximately 8 million m3, 70% of which in the major coastal cities of Tunis, Sousse and Sfax. This waste, thrown into the natural environment and in anarchic landfills, represents great potential that could be exploited in the framework of a circular economy strategy.

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