More than meets the ice

Long-life Surfaces for Busy Roads


Imagine a road surface that turns pink when cold. A new road varnish developed by a French firm, Eurovia, promises to do just that. Road surfaces treated with the varnish change colour, so drivers would be warned when roads turn icy.
Looking after road surfaces accounts for almost half of a country’s road budget, and a safe, comfortable and durable road surface could substantially cut the costs and frequency of road works, and save time and money for road users too. Whether a road varnish is a solid investment is a debatable point; what does matter is the quality of materials beneath the surface.Long-life Surfaces for Busy Roads presents the results of research that evaluated the technical and economic potential of the most promising long-life pavements. Phases one and two of this International Transport Forum project confirmed the viability of two surfaces in particular, epoxy asphalt and high-performance cementitious materials (HPCM). These cost two to three times more than conventional asphalt, but lengthen durability from around 10-15 years to 30-40 years (see “Smoother surface”, in OECD Observer No 251, September 2005, Shell Oil Company developed epoxy asphalt in the late 1950s as a jet fuel and jet blast resistant specialty pavement for airfields. In 1967, a wafer-thin layer of epoxy asphalt was used for its first commercial roadway application on the deck of the San Mateo- Hayward Bridge across San Francisco Bay. After 40 years, the surface is still functioning under extremely heavy use, with 30,000 cars peeling through each lane per day, and the total passage of over 250 million vehicles.HPCM consists of ultra-high performance, steel fibre-reinforced fine mortar, in which hard, polish-resistant aggregate particles are embedded. Testing has shown that a 10-30mm layer of HPCM shows great strength and integrity, and may be practically maintenance-free for 30 years.Both materials will now be tested on heavily trafficked roads. This phase of the project will look at glow paint adherence, noise levels, skid resistance and safety in wet conditions, as well as its ability to be quickly mixed, applied and dried. ISBN 9789282101582
©OECD Observer No 267 May-June 2008

Economic data

GDP growth: +0.6% Q4 2017 year-on-year
Consumer price inflation: 2.2% Jan 2018 annual
Trade: +2.7% exp, +3.0% imp, Q4 2017
Unemployment: 5.5% Jan 2018
Last update: 12 Mar 2018


Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Suscribe now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To receive your exclusive paper editions delivered to you directly

Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • Ambassador Aleksander Surdej, Permanent Representative of Poland to the OECD, was a guest on France 24’s English-language show “The Debate”, where he discussed French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
  • The fight against tax evasion is gaining further momentum as Barbados, Côte d’Ivoire, Jamaica, Malaysia, Panama and Tunisia signed the BEPS Multilateral Convention on 24 January, bringing the total number of signatories to 78. The Convention strengthens existing tax treaties and reduces opportunities for tax avoidance by multinational enterprises.
  • Rousseau
  • Do you trust your government? The OECD’s How's life 2017 report finds that only 38% of people in OECD countries trust their government. How can we improve our old "Social contract?" Read more.
  • Papers show “past coming back to haunt us”: OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria tells Sky News that the so-called "Paradise Papers" show a past coming back to haunt us, but one which is now being dismantled. Please watch the video.
  • When someone asks me to describe an ideal girl, in my head, she is a person who is physically and mentally independent, brave to speak her mind, treated with respect just like she treats others, and inspiring to herself and others. But I know that the reality is still so much different. By Alda, 18, on International Day of the Girl. Read more.
  • Globalisation’s many benefits have been unequally shared, and public policy has struggled to keep up with a rapidly-shifting world. The OECD is working alongside governments and international organisations to help improve and harness the gains while tackling the root causes of inequality, and ensuring a level playing field globally. Please watch.
  • Read some of the insightful remarks made at OECD Forum 2017, held on 6-7 June. OECD Forum kick-started events with a focus on inclusive growth, digitalisation, and trust, under the overall theme of Bridging Divides.
  • Checking out the job situation with the OECD scoreboard of labour market performances: do you want to know how your country compares with neighbours and competitors on income levels or employment?
  • Trade is an important point of focus in today’s international economy. This video presents facts and statistics from OECD’s most recent publications on this topic.
  • The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The gender portal monitors the progress made by governments to promote gender equality in both OECD and non-OECD countries and provides good practices based on analytical tools and reliable data.
  • Interested in a career in Paris at the OECD? The OECD is a major international organisation, with a mission to build better policies for better lives. With our hub based in one of the world's global cities and offices across continents, find out more at .
  • Visit the OECD Gender Data Portal. Selected indicators shedding light on gender inequalities in education, employment and entrepreneurship.

Most Popular Articles

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2018