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Wednesday, 23 October

Streets are Paved With...Plastic

PlasticRoad is a new system to build roads from 100% recycled material that is virtually maintenance free and has three times the expected lifespan of conventional road materials.

KWS, a subsidiary of VolkerWessels announced the PlasticRoad concept last year as a sustainable alternative to traditional asphalt construction. The inventors are hoping to test the first prototype by the end of 2017.

 

New Innovations

Plastic is much more sustainable and opens the door for a number of new innovations such as power generation, quiet road surfaces, heated roads and modular construction. Additionally, the PlasticRoad design features a hollow space that can be used for cables, pipes and rainwater.

 

Prefabrication

PlasticRoad's concept is in line with developments such as Cradle to Cradle and The Ocean Cleanup: the initiative to free the seas of 'plastic soup'. Recycled plastic is made into prefabricated road parts that can be installed in one piece. The prefabricated production and the lightweight design also make the construction of a PlasticRoad into a much simpler task. Roads can be built in weeks instead of months. It is also much easier to control the quality of the road for e.g. stiffness or water drainage.

 

More resistant to the elements and wear

PlasticRoad is a virtually maintenance free product. 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. Estimations predict that the lifespan of roads will be tripled. That means less road maintenance and less to no traffic jams and detours.

 

Space for cables, pipes, and water

A major advantage of PlasticRoad is the hollow structure that can simply be installed on a surface of sand. In addition to the options mentioned above, it is also possible to integrate other elements in the prefabrication phase. These elements include traffic loops sensors, measuring equipment, and connections for light poles.

Picture: The PlasticRoad design features a hollow space that can be used for cables, pipes and rainwater

 

 

Article written by Cathryn Ellis

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