Minnesota Department of Transportation
Walaa Mogawer, Commonwealth Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
About the research
While the demand for using good quality aggregate materials for constructing both highway and local road systems has increased, local availability is often found to be insufficient. The use of recycled waste materials has been used in road construction to the maximum economic and practical extent possible with equal or improved performance. Plastic is a significant contributor to waste generation across the United States. The recent ban on imported plastic waste in developing countries is also forcing US cities and states to take issues related to plastic waste more seriously. Consequently, there is an urgent interest and need to transform plastic waste into useful materials to better to deal with it rather than keeping it in landfills. The objectives of this study are to (1) conduct a synthesis on the use of recycled plastics for roads in combination with the literature review results as part of relevant studies conducted on MnROAD by the National Road Research Alliance (NRRA) and National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT), (2) evaluate the feasibility of using plastic waste within roadway paving (asphalt and concrete), (3) recommend which applications will be most beneficial and practical, (4) work in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to provide a summary of the work being done locally and within the pool–funded studies with NRRA and NCAT, and (5) work with MnDOT/MnROAD to demonstrate the proof–of–concept for the beneficial applications and identify practical challenges when it is fully implemented in Minnesota’s transportation infrastructure system.