At a glance 1 min

Plastic roads

Plastic roads
Plastic roads

Specialising in civil engineering, the Dutch Volker Wessels Company is currently developing a new type of road surfacing made from recycled materials.
The company dreams of replacing the kilometres of asphalt found in cities by a surface still under study, called "Plastic Road". As its name suggests, these roads would be made entirely from plastic waste.

According to its designers, the surface's life expectancy would be three times that of asphalted roads. This longevity is achievable thanks to the use of plastic, which can withstand temperature variations (-40° to + 80°C), as well as the effects of the sun's rays. With an estimated 50-year lifespan, the plastic roads would be less affected by corrosion and would require less maintenance. The road sections would be prefabricated in a factory and could be assembled together much like a giant game of Lego®. Building new roads would only take "a few weeks instead of a few months" according to the company's website, making road works much less costly as a result. The roads could also be designed to be hollow, allowing cables, pipes, optical fibres or various sensors to be installed under their surface. 

According to VolkerWessels' Project Manager Rolf Mars, "plastics offer all sorts of advantages over current road construction methods, both in terms of installation and maintenance".

Rotterdam, the Dutch city in which the company is based, has already offered its support to the project and offered to test this innovation on its roads. "Rotterdam is a very innovative city and it has embraced the idea" said Rolf Mars: "this is in line with its sustainable development policy and the city is eager to work on a pilot project with us".

More information

If you enjoyed this article, you'll love the next!
  • A solar sail for producing green electricity
    At a glance 2 min
    A solar sail for producing green electricity

    The French start-up Héole has come up with the idea of developing organic photovoltaic sails to produce green energy to power boats. And it intends to make this dream a reality during the next Route d...

  • AeroSHARK, a "shark skin" to cover aircraft
    At a glance 2 min
    AeroSHARK, a "shark skin" to cover aircraft

    Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) has decided to coat the 12 Boeing 777s in its fleet with a polymer adhesive film. This new surface technology will reduce the fuel consumption of the sub-fleet by...

  • SeaBubbles flying boats: urban transportation with zero emissions
    At a glance 2 min
    SeaBubbles flying boats: urban transportation with zero emissions

    Zero waves, zero emissions, zero noise — that was Alain Thébault’s vision when he first invented the Sea Bubble back in 2017. This small electric water taxi is “somewhere between a car, a boat and a p...