Shortage of bitumen threatens public works


The professional federation Routes de France warns about a shortage of bitumen for the next two months. Already affected in July, road actors expect to postpone new projects.

Roadwork down? This is likely to happen at the start of the school year, because of a shortage of bitumen. Routes of France, the federation that brings together the professionals of the road sounds the alarm bell. "Of the 600,000 tonnes of bitumen needed for construction sites in the next two months, the shortfall is estimated at 100,000 tonnes"says Pierre de Thé, spokesman for the organization.

Already in July, several projects "Had to be postponed" in the absence of sufficient supply. The months of September and October, which account for 13% of the activity of road construction companies, do not promise much more reassuring.

More limited production

Flagship pavement component, the bitumen is a petroleum product manufactured in refineries. But since 2007, several closures of facilities have increased their number from 12 to 8 on the Hexagon. "Cars are less fuel efficient and, in general, the consumption of petroleum products has dropped"explains Alain Castinel, director of communications at the Union Française des Industries Pétrolières (Ufip).

In addition, refineries must periodically shut down for maintenance. This fall, it is the site of Gonfreville (Seine-Maritime) which will close two months, thus immobilizing the production of nearly 17% of the bitumen.

The constraint of the calendar

Another shadow on the table: the pressure of the calendar at the approach of the municipal. "The political deadline is added to the highly seasonal nature of the works, concentrated in July and in the fall", commented Pierre de Thé. In particular, the vote of the budget of the communities which intervenes often in April and delays the orders.

Faced with the lack of bitumen "Proven", construction sites will be postponed this fall, exposing companies to penalties. According to Routes de France, "It's mostly small jobs that are concerned. Those who weigh several million, like the track 3 of Orly, are obviously secure. ".

In July 2018, a shortage of bitumen had already disrupted public works. For Tea Stone, the problem becomes "Structural". In response, the Ufip, just like Routes de France, call for "A wider schedule of work and better predictability".

Another solution lies in the use of recycled bitumen. Still minimal, «It wins to convince the most cautious customers» says Pierre de Thé.

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Shortage of bitumen threatens public

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