In reducing traffic noise, road authorities in the Netherlands often use a top layer with an open structure, so-called ‘whisper asphalt’. Due to this open structure the asphalt mixture is a lot more sensitive for winter conditions as the repeating frost and thaw cycles result in the loss of small asphalt particles, in the end leading to put holes in the road surface. Not only does this influence traffic safety in a negative way, it also means extra costs for repair and extra traffic congestion due to roadblocks while repairing the asphalt.
Another important problem with open asphalt top layers is, that in case of glazed frost it is very difficult to deal with using traditional salt sprinkling. Therefore, in such cases the amount of salt sprinkled is normally doubled, so will be the damage to the environment, and still its effect is not optimal. Bringing in a road surface heating system means, that the temperature of the asphalt guaranteed will be above freezing point and with that the 'ageing' of the asphalt is significantly reduced.
Obviously, a guaranteed snow and ice free road surface contributes to traffic safety, not only on top layers with an open structure, as no more slipping is to be expected and with that no personal and material damage. But it has also al lot of social and economic advantages as accessibility under winter conditions is also guaranteed (no congestion or even standstill) and as such a lot less emission of CO2 and fine dust particles.
The result of the project will be an advanced heating system, enabling to heat up the entire road surface, that uses infrared technology and is effective and energy efficient and where there is a lot to gain for the asphalt structure on aspects as quality, safety, durability and sustainability.