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World’s First Recycled Road Proves Smooth and Clean

| October 15, 2018

Recycled Road

French company Vinci has built the world’s first stretch of motorway made entirely from recycled road materials.

The “fully recycled road” is a kilometer long and is part of the A10 motorway between Pons and Saint Aubin in southwest France. It was built by two subsidiaries of Vinci Construction, Eurovia and Vinci Autoroutes.

Vinci said that most of resources used were ground down from previously built roads and that extracts from quarries were not used at any stage. In this way, the process lowered the company’s use of natural resources, its carbon footprint and claims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50%.

The construction of the mobile plant was central to the project’s success as it had previously been impossible to produce asphalt mixes with 100% recycled content outside of regular plants. As a result, the 3,000 tons of material used for the road were created on site.

Plastic potholes

This is of course not the first time recycled materials have been used in road construction. In Southern India, the potential for recycling waste into road material has been recognized for a long time. These, for example, reusable plastic is harvested at landfill sites to sell to road maintenance firms. The plastic is then piled into the often giant potholes that riddle Indian roads before being soaked with gas and set on fire. The plastic melts into the holes, fills them up and then hardens.  Smart and hard.

But there’s more: Last month, the city of Zwolle in the Netherlands launched the world’s first bicycle lane composed of waste that would normally be discarded. This involved old plastic bottles, festival beer cups, cosmetic packaging, and plastic furniture. Still in its pilot phase, the bike path contains 70% recycled plastic. The city hopes to create a bike path made entirely of recycled plastic in the future. What makes this bicycle lane particularly unique is that it is modular and pre-fabricated, which means that it can be installed easily anywhere in the world.

New road feels like old road

However, this new French road is different as it is the first time a motorway has been entirely made out of recycled roads. This research project won the ‘Route to the Future’ award by the French Environment & Energy Management Agency.

Motorists have reported no noticeable change driving on this new surface. The new road feels like the old road.

Category: General Update, Green, News

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