Volker Wessels has been working on a concept that would bring recycled plastic to roadways as a new upgrade to traditional concrete and asphalt pavement. The company claims that the roadways will feature a lightweight design, a fraction of the construction time, virtually maintenance free, and three times the expected lifespan. The PlasticRoad, which consists of 100% recycled material, could be the ideal sustainable alternative to conventional road structures and we like the potential implications that this innovation could have on driveways and hardscape surfaces for residential properties.
According to the company, PlasticRoad features numerous advantages compared to conventional roads, both in terms of construction and maintenance. 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.
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 (stiffness, water drainage etc.).
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.