• Eastern Cape Rising Sun

Africa’s first plastic road under construction

The Kouga Municipality in the Eastern Cape has begun laying the ground for Africa’s first ever tried and tested plastic road. Situated just west of Port Elizabeth, the municipality started this ground breaking project in March this year.

The international innovation from Scotland is environmentally-friendly and cost-efficient, and is expected to assist the Kouga region with its R500 million road repair backlog. This is a joint project by Kouga Municipality, MacRebur SA and two Port Elizabeth-based civil engineering and construction companies. It is estimated that up to 1,8 million plastic bags can be used in just one kilometre of road.

The first roads are under construction in Jeffreys Bay, with up to two tonnes of plastic pellets making its way from Scotland. The plastic additives in the asphalt mix is said to make the road more durable, less susceptible to pot holes and have greater heat resistance. However, the municipality says they are working on building a factory that will supply these plastic pallets.

According to Laura-Leigh Randall, spokesperson for Kouga, the installation of new stormwater pipes started in Jeffreys Bay last week with a 1,7km stretch of road to be rebuilt over the next three months.

“What will make the roads different is the top layer, which will include recycled plastic.

The testing of this product, developed by a Scottish company was recently finalised. The result is a road that is stronger, more durable and easier to maintain,” said Randall.

The idea was first introduced by a DA MPL to solve some of South Africa’s road problems, to the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature in 2017.

“Should the trial be successful, we would like to see a factory being built locally to produce the pellets. This would mean work at the factory, as well as a means for communities to make money by collecting and selling plastic waste.”

The trial is done at no cost to the municipality, with the respective partners set to foot the bill. Among the many benefits of the project is the positive use of the countries excessive supply of plastic materials, no more potholes and the plastic roads are said to last longer (three times) than traditional tar roads.

Spokesperson for the Eastern Cape Department of Transport, Unathi Binqose said the department is aware of this project spearheaded by the Koega Municipality.

“Some roads are under the jurisdiction of municipalities, so it is up to them to find ways that work best for their respective communities. We welcome any innovation to improve the quality and maintenance of roads in our province,” said Binqose.

Pictured above: Kouga Municipality, MacRebur SA and two Port Elizabeth-based civil engineers break ground in the historic plastic road project.

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