The use of plastics in roadbuilding is growing internationally and has shown it can enhance asphalt mixes, adding both strength and longevity, but in B.C. it is at best a toe-hold on providing better roads.
“Our industry is a bit of a dinosaur,” said Todd Strynadka, technical services manager with Terus Construction, a road construction group that operates in British Columbia and the Yukon.
Polymers are an additive binder to asphalt’s aggregate and bitumen and are known to extend the upper and lower temperature thresholds because of its elasticity.
A 2016 report by UBC student Sydnie Koch entitled Improving Sustainability Practices by Repurposing City Construction Waste points out the city’s Kent asphalt plant and production facility is unable to utilize 100,000 tonnes of road waste annually and is limited to a 25 per cent RAP (recycled asphalt pavement) content because of plant emission limitations and feeder equipment that limits production. The report makes no mention of recycled plastics.