The Dutch company VolkerWessels has developed a plastic road made from melted down, recycled plastic bottles that it plans to pilot in Rotterdam, a city in southern Holland. VolkerWessels says that the new road is easier to install, more reliable, and more environmentally friendly than traditional asphalt.
If the new road material proves to be as good as it seems, no longer will road crews be constantly repairing pot holes and cracks in asphalt roads. The recycled plastic roads are said to require less maintenance and be able to withstand temperatures of -40 and +80 degrees Celsius.
VolkerWessels said the environmental impact of plastic roads would also be substantial. In addition to removing plastic bottles from the ocean to be used as paving materials, asphalt roads produce as much as 1.6 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
The plastic roads are projected to be hollow, allowing for utility pipes to be underground. The roads would be created in a factory, transported to the site, and locked into place like giant Lego blocks. Installation time would be faster than it takes to lay down asphalt, reducing time delays for road construction and safety hazards for workers.
First tests of the new plastic roads have yet to determine if the roads are safe to drive on in slippery conditions.