Here is an interesting idea out of Britain.

The new M6 toll road has been built on two and a half million copies of old Mills and Boon novels to prevent it from cracking.

Unsold copies of the books were shredded into a paste and added to a mixture of asphalt and Tarmac. It helps to bind the asphalt and the Tarmac, preventing the surface from splitting apart after heavy use.

The construction company responsible for laying the road, Tarmac Central, used 92,000 books per mile for a 16-mile stretch of the road and said it should ensure the motorway remained free of roadworks. Richard Beal, project manager, said that Mills and Boon novels were used because millions are returned to the factory each year unsold.

The reject copies are then passed on to other companies where they are recycled and used for other purposes.

He said: “There is the old saying that the road to true love doesn’t run smoothly but thanks to thousands of Mills and Boon romance novels we hope that the M6 toll will.”

In France they use a rubber mixture that helps keep roads lasting longer. Unfortunately, the process is more expensive so low contract bidders in the U.S. don’t use it.

I remember seeing something like this on PrimeTime Live years ago. In France, the average road lasts about 20 years without the need for major repaving. The reason is that the rubber compound gives flexibility to the roads under the stresses of weight, heat, and cold. There is less cracking and there are less potholes.

We could save a bundle in the long term if we used the same material, but the upfront costs are greater than what we otherwise would use. Because we have a lowest bidder system, the lowest bidders don’t use the rubber and our roads last for seven to ten years before major repairs are needed.