Building roads as you would with Lego. VolkerWessels subsidiary KWS is hard at work creating the next generation of roads: PlasticRoad. Not only is its modular design lightweight, quicker to install and more durable, PlasticRoad also provides a solution to a global environmental problem: the growing mountain of plastic waste.
When KWS launched the PlasticRoad concept in the summer of 2015 along with an appeal for partners it prompted an avalanche of emails and phone calls. The team was bombarded with an almost constant stream of messages from private individuals, governments, the media and potential partners. The enthusiastic respondents included Wavin and Total, who are now partners in the project. The first PlasticRoad pilots – two 30-metre stretches of cycle track in the Dutch towns of Zwolle and Giethoorn – were installed in 2018.
The sustainable road
Every year an estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the oceans on top of which 55% of all plastic waste is incinerated. PlasticRoad gives waste a second life. This not only gives us a cleaner living environment, it also considerably reduces carbon emissions. The production process is cleaner and initial calculations indicate that transportation during installation is cut by 85% compared to conventional road construction.
The modular design of PlasticRoad drastically cuts maintenance time and its lifespan is three times longer than that of conventional roads, massively reducing diversions due to roadworks. In addition the prefabricated road parts are ready to use as soon as they are installed: plug-and-play.
From the ultra light-weight design with room for cables and pipes to solar panels and floor sections for power generation: the design allows scope for adding a whole range of functionalities to the road according to the customer’s requirements.
The ideal road construction
What does the ideal road construction actually look like? That was the first question we asked ourselves when embarking on the development of PlasticRoad. We took our inspiration from the problems facing road builders and clients, such as water management, cables and pipes, and subsoil settlement. This resulted in a concept built around the key words: modular, fully circular, plug-and-play, space for cables, pipes and rainwater. Our research into the most suitable material quickly showed plastic to be a promising option!
Visit the PlasticRoad website for more information.plasticroad.eu