200 tons of ‘plastic road’ will be laid on a stretch of the N3 in KwaZulu-Natal soon, to see if it can last under South Africa’s harsh sun
- The company which built South Africa’s first plastic road will soon start laying 200 tons of plastic-infused tarmac on the N3 between Durban and Johannesburg.
- The plastic compound is made from a non-food-grade recycled plastic – strengthening the road while reducing waste headed for landfill.
- The stretch of road is an experiment, to see what South African weather does to part-plastic asphalt.
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Start from 10 September, 200 tons of "plastic road" is due to be laid on a stretch of the N3 highway in KwaZulu-Natal.
The recycled plastic is used as a binder ingredient in the asphalt and replaces a percentage of costly bitumen, while also diverting waste from landfill.
The project is by the same company, Shisalanga Construction, a majority-owned subsidiary of Raubex Group Limited, that in early August paved 80 metres of road in Cliffdale in KwaZulu-Natal with a mixture containing the equivalent of 6,770 milk bottles of locally recycled plastic.
That project is believed to have been the first part-plastic road paved in Africa.
The SA National Roads Agency "has approved a 200-ton trial on the N3 at the Hammarsdale Intersection which will be monitored for long term performance. SANRAL as well as other research institutions will be part of the long-term performance protocol,” said managing director Deane Koekemoer.
The plastic road will be watched to gauge its performance under South Africa’s unique weather conditions, which can range from extremely hot temperatures in summer to freezing cold in winter.
“In South Africa, all asphalt produced runs through a number of stringent testing methods... and this plastic asphalt is no exception,” said Koekemoer.
Just how far 200 tons of plastic asphalt goes on a road depends on the thickness it is laid, which is in turn determined by road specifications.
The recycled plastic is generated from local waste plastic and supplied buy a local recycling plant and the binder was manufactured in South Africa.
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