ICB - 75 years of paving the way

Seventy five years ago Down County Council's highway engineers had a major problem. The first Tourist Trophy car race, held in 1928 over the 13-mile Ards circuit east of Belfast, had been a tremendous success, but flying stones were a real menace. The tar binder softened in the summer heat and under the stresses imposed by the racing cars. Many drivers and riding mechanics were injured by flying chips.

  Enter a small company called Irish Cold Bitumen, which had been incorporated in 1925 to design and produce new products using the latest emulsion techniques. The circuit was resurfaced using new cold binder and the rest is history, half a million spectators watching Rudolf Caracciola take the 1929 chequered flag in his supercharged works Mercedes.

Seventy five years later ICB continues at the forefront of highways product design. Ralumac, the cold applied asphaltic treatment, has been used on many heavily trafficked roads. Ralumac can restore profiles on rutted, fretted and deformed surfaces with a durable, textured, hard wearing surface. Its polymer modified, cold applied micro asphalt is laid by trained crews using high output machinery to minimise lane closures. Trafficking is possible within 5 to 20 minutes, depending on ambient temperature.

Ralumac is now available with fibres which act to reinforce the mix. Ralupath, ICB's very successful footway resurfacing system, was developed from Ralumac to reprofile and fill depressions in one application. The system is particularly effective after reinstatement works. Ralupath is cheaper overall than cold asphalt or dense macadam treatments, while edges are feathered and blended to avoid the need for planning out and reconstruction. Footways can be re-opened in 15 to 30 minutes depending on weather. Bitupave is a cold applied carriageway sealing system which sets so quickly that the road can be re-opened to traffic within five minutes. It has a long service life of usually more than 15 years with good adhesion to most surfaces. It is best suited to housing estate roads and car parks.

Unlike Henry Ford, ICB Contracts can offer colours other than black. Its two new processes are Spraygrip 2 and Colourtrack which can be applied in several colours, the main colours being red, green and beige. Spraygrip 2 is a very strong hand applied process used on bus lanes and junctions for its breaking ability. Colourtrack is a cold applied coloured bituminous mix using clear emulsion and dyes to create several colours. This product is used for cycle lanes and to accentuate specific areas on the footpaths or carriageways.