Could Roads Made Out of Recycled Plastic be Superior to Asphalt?


The two major issues with asphalt roadways are their lifespan and their vulnerability to weather and temperature. The optimum lifespan of an asphalt road is about 25 years and that is dependent on a large variety of factors.  In the Northern United States, this lifespan could substantially less, 15 to 20 years.   One of the largest frustrations with our current road systems is the time it takes to build and resurface roadways. Many of the solutions proposed are costly and un-sustainable.

Spearheaded by Dutch company VolkerWessels a new innovative solution called Project Plastic Road looks to solve many of the issues that plague our current road infrastructure.  Plastic Road’s proposed road system will be modular and made out of entirely 100% recycled materials.  The idea is to turn recycled plastic into modular prefabricated roads that can be dropped into place. VolkerWessels claims that this system could have a longevity of 3 times more than asphalt, and because the pieces are modular and interchangeable replacing a road could take a fraction of the time it takes now.

According to VolkerWessels, using Project Plastic Road opens up innovations that asphalt does not have the ability to incorporate.  Roads can be fitted for power generation, quiet road surfaces, heated roads and, of course, modular replaceable road panels.

PlasticRoad is also virtually maintenance free. It is unaffected by corrosion and weather.  The road structure can handle temperatures of -40F to temps as high as 176F with no negative effects.

One of the things that stands out to me about this product is the ability to have lines in the road be integral and not fade, as well as having the ability to run city infrastructure through the hollow core could really be a game changer for how city infrastructure is planned and implemented.

William Lucus

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