Tech Crunch: Are Plastic ‘Lego’ Roads the Future?

Jul 21, 2015 at 11:05 am |

Plastic roads may be the way of the future, at least, that’s what the Dutch road construction company VolkerWessels would like us to think. According to them, weak and wasteful asphalt is a thing of the past.

The company is currently looking for partners and investors for their new concept, PlasticRoad. As described by the VolkerWessels’s website, their product boasts “a lightweight design, a fraction of the construction time, virtually maintenance free, and three times the expected lifespan. PlasticRoad, which consists of 100% recycled material, is the ideal sustainable alternative to conventional road structures.” But could be heading towards a world of Lego roads any time soon?

If you’re a driver, or even if you’re ever the passenger for a morning commute or long road trip, you know that detours and public works are the absolute worst. Lingering cops and ridiculously low “work zone” speeding limits aside, the traffic caused by road work is a surefire way to ruin your day or even your entire vacation, especially since it always seems to block the road to the beach in the summertime.

More than 94% of roads in the U.S. are covered by asphalt, and many of them are crumbling into disrepair since their nationwide installment under Eisenhower’s presidency. While it only exists on paper at the moment, PlasticRoad could use recycled plastic to create more durable roads which, they insist, would withstand heat, cold, and corrosion better, ultimately reducing the frequency and length of repair. Furthermore, the road could be easily installed in ready-made strips and could have a hollow design that would allow for drainage, cables, or pipes to be built right in. Awesome.

I like this idea, and I think it’s definitely about time we started repurposing plastic on larger scales. While I don’t know that plastic would be infinitely more durable than blacktop, it makes sense to me that it would at least fare better through winter frosts and not break apart like asphalt does.

Do you think a plastic road is where we’re headed? Or should we focus on using solar panels on our major highways? Let us know in the comments below and SHARE with a friend!

Guess we’ve been doing roads all wrong. Good thing I saved all my Legos!