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Like baking a great cake

Out on Springs Road, Christchurch, on a site that used to be a gravel pit for the Christchurch City Council quarry, there is a small but busy area of land behind a Citycare fence where there is some hot stuff going on. There you’ll find the Citycare Civil asphalt plant which provides all Citycare asphalt requirements for Canterbury, in addition to almost half of its capacity being used by external contractors.

The team starts work most mornings at 2.00 am to make sure they have supplies ready for the early morning arrival of contractors. Stone chip, crusher dust and sand are dried and heated and mixed with bitumen to make the asphalt. It emerges from the plant at 160 degrees and needs to be laid within two to three hours to maintain its moulding properties.

The Citycare Civil plant meets a niche market and produces seven grades of asphalt in ½ tonne batches. Because the plant burners are kept constantly warm rather than being turned on and off, they produce a quality asphalt.

In addition to the plant, the site is home to the Citycare Civil IANZ accredited testing lab. Toni O’Regan, the laboratory manager, provides the quality assurance testing of asphalt for many contractors to ensure they are meeting specification. The team also tests every 200 tonnes of asphalt produced at the plant to make sure it’s up to standard.

According to Dave Haugh, Industries Manager, a good batch of asphalt is a bit like baking a great cake – you need the best ingredients, mixed together well and baked at the right temperature.

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