Imagine driving on a giant Lego set.
A Danish construction company called VolkerWessels has devised a plastic road solution it says will reduce road construction delays. While it sounds ridiculous, we really hate dealing with bumper-to-bumper traffic because road crews have eliminated some lanes to perform some much-needed maintenance. That doesn’t mean we’re sold on this idea, but it admittedly is intriguing, at least if the claims about it turn out to be true.
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According to VolkerWessels, its PlasticRoad system is actually stronger than traditional blacktop pavement. The company also claims repairing any damage would be easier and take less time, drainage would be much improved, and access for utilities would be far superior. Is all that too good to be true?
VolkerWessels isn’t just theorizing about how these PlasticRoad panels work, it’s been installing them since 2018, although so far they’ve only been used for less-traveled roads, bike paths, and parking lots. Still, unlike so many off-the-wall ideas we’ve seen and are pitched on constantly, these guys have working examples.
To create the panels, the company uses discarded plastics like water or soda bottles. That’s cool since that stuff would just be sitting in a landfill or dumped into the ocean by a Chinese “recycling” plant. Since the plastic panels are supposed to be stronger than the pavement we use today, we can assume they would mean the end of the notorious potholes. They’re also lightweight, so a flatbed truck with a crane could carry a number of them and install the panels quickly.
In fact VolkerWessels claims these plastic panels last three times longer than traditional roads, meaning in some areas they’ll only be shutting down lanes oncer every three years. If a panel is done for, workers can remove it and snap in a replacement similar to how your kid can swap Lego bricks.
As you can see in the photos, there are pathways inside the PlasticRoad panels for utilities to be run through. They also give water a place to flow so it doesn’t pool up on the road surface as much.
We wonder if this concept will catch on or is it not all it’s cracked up to be.
Images via VolkerWessels