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Italy, the production of asphalt reaches 30 mln/tons, but it's still not enoughAt Asphaltica the operators will ask to the institutions clear rules and significant investments

Asphaltica is the European Expo dedicated to the entire production chain of asphalt and road infrastructure which will take place in Verona (at the exposition district known as Veronafiere) from March 21st to March 25th 2020. The exhibition, promoted by SITEB (Association Italian Roads and Bitumen) and Veronafiere, represents a one of a kind event due to its ability to gather together all the industry’s main actors (machinery and installations’ manufacturers, oil and gas companies, research labs, representatives of the chemical industry for rubber and additives, alternative inert materials, reinforcing and waterproofing membranes for road surfaces, etc) while offering a rich agenda of seminars and conventions.

As per tradition, the exhibition will take place together with SaMoTer and it will revolve around the complex world of roads and infrastructure; a subject sometimes undervalued and ignored, but always highly innovative and as updated as no other branch of the construction industry, particularly when relating to environmental safeguard within the concept of circular economy.

This event will witness numerous companies introducing their latest innovations in terms of products and processes applicable to a variety of sectors: environment, sustainability and safeguard, norms, controls and licencing, technologies and products, innovation and smart roads.

On Saturday 21st of March, SITEB and Eurobitume, the European Association of bitumen manufacturers, will launch the seminar agenda by promoting an international seminar on the future role of bitumen within road construction and the industry, in general.

The discussion will mostly revolve around the environmental sustainability of bitumen and its legitimacy as an element of economic development. On the same day, Anas will introduce its own seminar illustrating the company’s most recent innovations in the field of security measures and specifically about DSM barriers.

Especially interesting for the public administration and business technicians, a number of appointments have been scheduled throughout the whole 5 days period of the expo with the aim of releasing valuable instructions and updates on the correct maintenance of road paving, as well as planning, implementing and efficiently controlling road construction and maintenance works. Moreover, visitors will be given the chance to experience the most innovative and least environmental affecting techniques for the construction and maintenance of the road.

In light of todays’ scenario, made of insufficient investments by the Government and Local Entities on roads” highlights Michele Turrini, President of SITEB, “the new edition of Asphaltica undertakes a crucial role aiming to challenge our Institutions, who appear determined to keep ignoring the strategic role played by our national road heritage, victim of such a gradual and detrimental process that won us a place at the bottom of the European rankings on road viability. After so many calls for help have gone unheard, it is time to turn on the lights on a issue which cannot be postponed any longer”.

The year 2019 registered an important return to road works, following 10 years (2007-2016) of constant decrease and two years where road works barely managed to meet values set way below the benchmark considered necessary to re-instate our road heritage.

By the end of 2019, the production level of bituminous conglomerate (asphalt), the main index of road constructions and maintenance activities, reached the amount of 30 million tons for the first time in the last 13, although remaining way below the pre-crisis production standards (up to 2006, the production level was steadily set above the 40 million tons per year). This important change in trend is mostly the result of a number of investments carried out by Anas, which, after a long period of inactivity, finally proceeded to reinstate monetary funds for this specific purpose. However, the situation remains critical for provincial routes, both in the case of large municipalities, such as Rome, as well as for smaller centres affected by serious economic issues. On a national level, the complex and outdated legislative norm currently in place contributes to slow down any possible recovery of said activities.

In the last few years, companies had to witness their expectations being unfulfilled due to the creation of procedures such as the new Code of Contracts and the Decree to Unlock Construction Sites. These measures, contrary to what was expected, not only did not help smooth the intricate procedures already in place, but they contributed to make the activities of companies and Public Administration even more complicated than what the originally were, generating an additional deceleration in the release of work announcements.

Today’s recent increase in maintenance activities, generated by Anas’ release of investments on road works (being Anas the Country’s main contractor) should be regarded by the Government as the perfect chance to create a leverage effect with regard to the necessary maintenance activities which have been postponed by local administrations for way too long.