Innovations In Road Engineering

Throughout the decades, the field of Civil Engineering has pushed the limits of innovation. This is a result of the expectations of the construction industry and variation in demands from the various stakeholders. Whatever it may be, the field of Civil Engineering has never failed to disappoint. Over the past 2 years there have been two developments which have come about in the roads discipline, i.e. the construction of roads using plastic and the development of the rollerball system.

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Plastic Roads

Plastic roads refer to roads which are constructed of plastic or composites of plastic. The application of this innovation is most applicable in the urban environment where services such as electricity, water, sewer and stormwater can be installed within the hollowed section of the plastic road way. A big win for the construction of plastic roadways comes on the environmental front, whereby the materials can be made from recycled plastic, which is far cheaper in comparison to the traditional asphalt surfacing used on South African Roads. Furthermore, laboratory testing suggests that plastic composite roads exhibit greater durability in comparison to the traditionally asphalted roadways.

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Rollerball Barrier System

The rollerball barrier system has been developed in Korea as an alternative to the traditional Armco barrier system. The philosophy of this system is to deflect the impact as opposed to absorbing the energy, as in the Armco barriers – which usually fail on high impacts. The rollerball system employs rubber rollers mounted on a steel tubing frame. The frame is allowed to deflect to an extent, after which the rubber rollers assist in the deflection of the impact back in the opposite direction. Applications of this system will favour areas with cliffs and bi-directional roadways with no median areas. This will better ensure the safety of drivers, as well as reduction in collisions with infrastructure. The cost of the rollerball system is far more expensive that the Armco system, however, is far stronger and has a longer lifespan in comparison.