Plastic road holds many benefits
DUTCH construction firm VolkerWessels has come up with a way to recycle plastics and built better roads to boot.
The company has developed a modular PlasticRoad, which concept it says is in line with developments such as Cradle to Cradle and The Ocean Cleanup: the initiative to free the seas of ‘plastic soup’.
The PlasticRoad is still an idea on paper at the moment; the next stage is to build it and test it in a laboratory to make sure it’s safe in wet and slippery conditions and so on. “We are looking for partners who want to collaborate on a pilot — as well as manufacturers in the plastics industry,” the company said.
While still at a concept stage, VolkerWessels is looking for cities to help develop a prototype to test the road in real world applications.
The company said their PlasticRoad is “virtually maintenance free”, as it is unaffected by corrosion and the weather.
The road structure handles temperatures as low as -40 degrees and as high as 80 degrees Celsius with ease. It is also much more resistant to chemical corrosion than tar.
Simon Jorritsma, adviser at InfraLinQ, told Wheels the PlasticRoad is different from roads laid with a mix of tar and crumbed tyres, being more durable. VolkerWessels estimates their plastic road will last three times longer than normal roads, which means less road maintenance and the ensuing traffic jams.
Because sections of the road could be prefabricated and installed on sand in a single piece, the company claims construction time for roads would be cut from months down to weeks. T
he material would also be lighter and allow better control over factors like road stiffness and water drainage, while a hollow space within could be used for all sorts of things.
The moulded casts can also integrate other elements like pizoid generators to make power through impact of wheels, or conventional traffic sensors, measuring equipment, and even heaters to melt snow in cold countries.
Artist impression of a modular plastic road concept by Dutch construction company VolkerWessels.