The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO), Holcim Canada Inc. and the University of Toronto are testing a new, more sustainable type of concrete for highway paving - and Ontario drivers are helping.
For the first time in Canada, a small section of Highway 401 near the Hurontario Street off-ramp has been paved using Portland limestone cement (PLC). Drivers using the ramp are assisting in the testing simply by driving over the new 100m PLC section and a 100m section made of concrete with conventional cement.
The entire site will be monitored by University of Toronto researchers until 2013 to assess the durability, the effects of our climate and de-icing materials, and other factors.
The manufacturing of PLC cement produces approximately 10 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions than traditional cements while maintaining the same strength and durability, according to cement industry experts. It also has a reduced impact on natural resources as less limestone needs to be mined for its production.
Testing new materials for our roads - Brampton, Ontario
Ministry of Transportation
We're here today on Highway 401 at Hurontario Street to see a trial of concrete pavement. It's a special concrete pavement because it contains a Portland limestone cement. It's a new cement for Canada that contains 15 per cent limestone. It reduces the energy demand of the cement production so it's much more environmentally friendly and makes construction more sustainable in the long term. There are questions about the durability in Canada and we want to be able to observe their performance under Canadian service conditions.
Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Toronto
The largest part, about 90 per cent of the CO2 burden of concrete, is in the Portland cement production, so using Portland Limestone Cements allows them to reduce their CO2 per tonne of cement by about 10 per cent.
Holcim Canada Inc.
When we are doing trials and we are going to introduce a new material and the end product is concrete then we have to satisfy different requirements in terms of durability and performance. Wintertime performance, it means structural performance and also how it'll deal in very harsh environments in terms of chloride penetration.
Ministry of Transportation
So we'll look at things like the strength, the behaviour of the concrete, and by putting it in a trial section on (Highway) 401 here, we'll be able to look at how it performs under winter conditions under the application of de-icing salt to basically assure ourselves that the performance is equivalent.So for the driver, they shouldn't see any difference at all.
For more information visit:ontario.ca/transportation