south African plastic roads

18 Apr SA’s First Plastic Roads and the Way Forward for Our Country

Image: averda.co.za

Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal have led the way in eco-friendly infrastructure. Consequently, the paving of South Africa’s roads using plastic waste is starting to look more realistic.

This is particularly exciting, given the fact that – according to the South African Road Federation – potholes have cost citizens around R64 billion per year in vehicle repairs and injuries. With more part-plastic roads covering the country’s cities, this massive cost is set to decrease since this new paving material doesn’t absorb water and is therefore less vulnerable to damage in the form of potholes.

Furthering this excitement, road maintenance costs and pollution will also decrease with this innovative eco-paving solution. Let’s take a look at two projects that have set this new solution in motion.

Woltemade and Koraal Street in Jeffrey’s Bay

plastic roads in south africa

Image: estateliving.co.za

Working with Scottish company MacRebur, the Kouga Municipality in Eastern Cape have constructed a 1-km stretch of part-plastic road, which officially opened on the 28th February.

The technique substitutes non-recyclable plastic pellets from bitumen – a material used in a traditional asphalt mix. It is estimated that this eco-paving project used around 1.8 tonnes of non-recycled plastic, which can be compared to using 1.8 million plastic bags!

Since the Kouga Municipality has been facing a R105 billion backlog in road maintenance, this long-lasting and more durable road paving solution comes as a much-needed relief as it will certainly help save on road maintenance costs in future.

Cliffdale Road in KwaZulu-Natal

plastic road in KwaZulu Natal

Image: edition.cnn.com

Cliffdale road, situated on Durban’s outskirts, boasts a part-plastic road that covers a distance of 80 metres. Constructed in early August 2019, the road makes use of an estimated 6770 locally recycled milk bottles.

Shisalanga Construction, a subsidiary of Raubex Group, is responsible for this forward-thinking project and are surely proud to have one of the first part-plastic roads in Africa on their portfolio.

Shisalanga’s method replaces 6% of asphalt’s bitumen binder with recycled plastic which produces fewer toxic emissions and roads that can withstand temperatures as high as 70 degrees Celsius and as low as -22 degrees Celsius.

This same method may very well be used in a future project that SANRAL is currently considering, which would involve the paving of the N3 highway between Durban and Johannesburg. This huge undertaking would require around 200 tonnes of plastic!

With this and many more plastic road paving initiatives to look forward to, the future of eco-friendly infrastructure in South Africa is, indeed, looking favourable.

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