Road construction has posed many challenges to governments and individuals because the road to success is always under construction. Some adults have designed “road blocks” that are like big Lego pieces, able to be snapped in and out of place easily. They are designed to be made from recycled plastic obtained from the oceans.
The team has named the roads “plastic roads” and they are still in the design stage. The plan is to take waste plastic from the sea and grind it up into a coarse aggregate. This aggregate could then be quickly melted and molded into road-form. These molds include spaces in the middle for the pipes and electrical cables that typically run under roadways. The city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands is teaming up with the company VolkerWessels to create prototype plastic roads. “The Netherlands is a haven for recycling it is one of the few European countries to recycle more than half of its waste,” European Environment Agency said.
Road construction is not an easy work because they hold many cars and people use them to move from one place to another. The VolkerWessels claims that the plastic can withstand temperatures between –40oC and 80oC (–40oF and 176oF), and that the road is resistant to corrosion and weather damage. The company also claims that Plastic Roads are ideal for roads that travel over structurally poor ground, such as swampy or sandy soil. Its endurance has not yet been tested.
IFLScience reports that the prefabricated roads would be made in a factory, transported to the installation site and then slotted into place. Ideally this design would reduce construction time on the roads, which would hopefully reduce the amount of time that road blockades are up during road construction.
“It’s 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,” commented Rolf Mars, directing the project at VolkerWessels.
This design is an interesting shift in road building and it will help many countries shy away from using tar and other believed harmful products in road construction. Engineers are thinking not only about how to lay roads quickly, but also how to pull them up quickly and that is why roads never last longer in growing countries.
Plastic usage in road making has always been there but this group has advanced it further. India has been replacing parts of roads with recycled plastic waste. The replacements are stronger and cheaper. Plastic is harmful to the environment, so instead of letting plastic waste lie stagnant by the roadside, the state of Himachal Pradesh is laying it into the roads themselves.