VDOT is testing a new paving mixture that uses plastics

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ABINGDON, Va. (WJHL) – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is studying a new type of asphalt mixture, called a recycled plastic modified (RPM) asphalt mixture, that may be used to pave roads in the future.

According to the VDOT website, while using recycled plastics in asphalt has been a topic of growing interest over the past few years among highway agencies, there is still much unknown about using recycled plastics in asphalt.

The department hopes to find answers to the following questions:

  • How will the mixture be sourced?
  • What will be the methods of incorporating recycled plastics?
  • What would plant operations look like?
  • What are the impacts on health and safety?
  • How will the mixture perform in the short and long term?

The VDOT website says that the primary objective of the project is to “document and assess” trails using the mixtures.

The RPM asphalt mixture will be compared to the existing mixture that VDOT uses to pave roads currently.

While there is interest in using the RPM asphalt mixture, the project also raises environmental concerns. The research will also aim to detect microplastics that enter the environment caused by water runoff.

News Channel 11 reached out to VDOT for comment, they said they should have more information next week.

You can read a summary of the project on the Virginia Dept. of Transportation website or by clicking here.

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