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Marshalls reveal Fibre-reinforced paving

As part of the 'Boulevard Project' which aims 'to make streets in Camden more attractive through a thorough programme of cleansing, design, quality surfaces and lighting, with pro-active management and enforcement', the The London Borough of Camden has been using mechanical street cleaners to clean pavements. However, the weight of the motorised streetsweepers, combined with unauthorised vehicle overrun, meant that the flags in the paths next to the roadside were beginning to crack and break up. As the damage got worse, the flags became loose and uneven, causing subsidence and creating potential trip hazards for pedestrians, not to mention the unsightly appearace of broken flags everywhere.
old paving
Out with the old....
So, nearly five years ago, discussions between Camden and Marshalls led to the supply of a steel-reinforced concrete paving flag designed to withstand the additional vehicular loadings. Marshalls developed and manufactured a steel-reinforced product which performed well and now they've further developed the concept by introducing a Fibre Reinforced paving that is said to offer improved performance and other advantages over the previous teel version. This "second generation" of Marshalls' reinforced paving was finalised in Spring 2003, with full performance testing taking place throughout the rest of the year.
The new Fibre Reinforced Paving utilises patented STRUX™ 90/40 fibre technology to achieve the desired post-fracture toughness and performance benefits. By using synthetic fibre reinforcement, which are now commonplace in may concrete mixes, the toughness of the concrete flag is vastly increased when compared to standard paving. Further, if/when the paving does get broken, the incredible strength and pull-out resistance of the fibres effectively hold the flag together, like an internal mesh composed of thousands of the evenly-distributed fibres, so the flag continues to perform more-or-less as if no fracture has taken place.
They also state that Fibre Reinforced Paving offers improved skid and slip performance characteristics, achieving some of the highest results ever seen for concrete flag paving, and the much-improved abrasion resistance properties ensure that these characteristics will be retained even after prolonged periods of use.

A 100m² test area of the new Fibre Reinforced Paving has recently been laid on the Parkway, off Camden High Street, where it's been combined with 250m² of standard flag paving in the less heavily-loaded areas.

Fibre-reinforced flags
.... and in with the new.

Benefits

Marshalls reckon that their Fibre Reinforced Paving offers "improved performance benefits" when compared with the steel reinforced version. The Flag thickness has been reduced from 75mm to 63mm, which makes them a damn sight easier for contractors to handle, amd install, as well as making them simpler to integrate with standard 63mm products. There could also be some cost savings as contractors charge slightly less for laying/handling the lighter flags.

The big selling point, say Marshalls, is the potential for reduction/elimination of "claims" resulting from trips and falls blamed on broken and/or uneven pavements. A report from The Pedestrians Association in 1998 entitled "Enjoy Your Trip" estimated that the claims culture in the UK was costing our local authorities around £500m each year!

Steve Hook, Marshalls' Commercial Product Manager comments:
“Aside from long term performance benefits and significantly reduced maintenance and reinstatement costs, Marshalls' Fibre Reinforced Paving also ensures the aesthetics of a paved area are maintained with no cracking, spalling or failure visible to the user. This removes the danger of the broken, twisted or uneven flags which can often cause trip hazards, and leads to a safer, more pleasing and fully functioning paved area.”

For more info, contact Marshalls via the usual channels or call the delightful Emma O'Brien on 01422 312902

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