The PlasticRoad concept could be a revolution in building roads

PlasticRoad's lightweight, circular prefab road elements, made from 100% recycled plastic, can accommodate a variety of functions. Images © PlasticRoad

The plastic road concept is a recently developed idea that entails the creation of roads from recycled plastic. It features a prefabricated, modular and hollow road structure, all features that make the process of road construction faster, easier and convenient compared to traditional road construction techniques. The PlasticRoad has hollow spaces that can store water temporarily to control flooding. The spaces can also be fitted with transit cables and pipes, reducing excavation damages to them. Other plausible applications are the installation of sensors, heating roads, and even electrical charging of cars.

This concept was conceived to address problems such as plastic waste, increased need for mobility, extreme precipitation, and a crowded subsurface.

PlasticRoad could store water temporarily to control flooding

The Technical Concept

There is still much research being put into the PlasticRoad. The stiffness of the road is still being investigated. It can, however, be enhanced by adding sand or crushed stone to the surface of the plastic to increase traction. The road would have no problems with prolonged exposure to the sun or UV light as the recycled plastic material has shown tolerance to these conditions.

Objectives of the PlasticRoad

The plastic road was designed to accomplish the following:

  • It is expected to last three times longer than traditional road paving.
  • The expected construction time of a new road would reduce by about 70%.
  • The plastic road is four times lighter than the traditional road.
  • As it is made from recycled material, it is 100% circular.

Advantages of the PlasticRoad

  • Construction and maintenance time is significantly reduced.
  • The materials for construction are lightweight and prefabricated.
  • The concept is more sustainable.
  • The hollow space allows for multiple uses of the road such as water cable transit.
  • Low maintenance is needed.
  • The road is of higher quality and longer lifespan.
  • The concept leaves room for more innovation.
  • Controls the problem of plastic waste.
The hollow space inside the PlasticRoad can be fitted with transit cables and pipes

The Concept is now a Reality

Update: 29th Apr, 2019

Construction of 2nd PlasticRoad bicycle path in Overijssel.

Overijssel, in the Netherlands, now has two PlasticRoad bicycle paths, one in Zwolle and one in Giethoorn. Both pilot projects will be regularly evaluated in order to further develop the PlasticRoad concept into a product that can be introduced to the market.