Three stretches of road along Sungai Kerawai in Teluk Intan, Perak have just been constructed from cup lump modified asphalt (CMA, otherwise known as rubberised road). Although much smaller in scale than the project in Johor, this officially makes them the first in the country and the world to use CMA technology.

According to the Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB) and Public Works Department (JKR), rubberised roads yield several key benefits over conventional bitumen, such as increased durability, the ability to withstand higher loads, higher heat resistant, provide better grip and is cheaper to maintain in the long run. Initial cost however, is much higher at RM53.60 per metre compared to RM29.90 a metre using the conventional method.

Cup lump is naturally-coagulated rubber obtained directly from rubber trees without going through any manufacturing process. Bitumen is then added to the cup lumps and this, when mixed with asphalt, results in CMA. An estimated 4.2 tonnes of coagulated rubber is required for every kilometre of road.

This falls in line with the government’s effort in boosting domestic consumption of rubber, a commodity which has been suffering from falling prices. Plantation industries and commodities ministry minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said there are about 1.2 million smallholders in the country (550,000 smallholders in the palm oil industry, 440,000 in the rubber industry and 60,000 in the pepper industry) which need support, who might otherwise shift away from natural rubber due to weak prices.

Malaysia produces some 700,000 metric tonnes of rubber every year, and using them to produce rubberised roads will see domestic demand grow by 10%. Watch the video below for a glimpse of the construction process.