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Roads play a vital part in a country’s development. In a densely populated country like India, Roads portray are an indispensable part in transportation of goods and passengers. Did u ever think of the process behind laying a road? Road laying involves lot of processes and is a high labour demanding industry. But have you ever wondered from where do we get resource for such huge magnitude of roads. Conventional road laying methods involve mainly Asphalt which is a by-product of petroleum which makes it non-renewable.

This throws a major challenge against Sustainable development which the globe urges. This is where the modern marvel of Plastic roads comes into play. There are around 34,000 km of plastic roads in India, mostly in Rural India. Plastic roads involve Shredded pieces of day to day plastics like Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)Polypropylene(PP)High Density Poly Ethylene(HDPE), Low Density Poly Ethylene(LDPE). The Plastic roads where first introduced by Prof.

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Rajagopalan Vasudevan of the Chemistry department of Thiyagaraja College of Engineering, Madurai, Tamilnadu. It was patented and then laid for the first time in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand on 30th November 2011 by the government of India. The pros of a plastic road are that it gives all weather and wear resistance roads. It uses tonnes and tonnes of plastic in its production which is an eco-friendly approach This also saves the cost of road laying by around 8% when compared to Conventional methods. Plastic roads are a testament to the fact that Science leads to betterment of life when used appropriate.

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Roads play a key role in a country’s growth and development. Roads bring accessibility to amenities and economic prosperity of a nation Roads simulate educational, health and employment services which are the most essential options to eradicate poverty of a nation. In a country like India where the population is sky high roads are indispensable as they transport goods and passengers of huge multitudes. Door to door services are only possible due the existence of roads. In India which is a geographically diverse nation, roads are the most convenient and possible mode of transportation

Bechtel and Hochtief are the pioneers in the infrastructure industry. Their notable works are the London Airport project and the Gotthard tunnel in Switzerland. L&T and Tata are also mentionable leaders in the civil industry. Their noteworthy works are the Parliament building in New Delhi and the Kanteveera stadium in Bangalore.

Conventional roads

Roads today are made of deep strength asphalt, bitumen, crushed rock, chalk rocks, compacted sand, and as far as rural roads are concerned, they are made of earth sand, loam, gravel, bituminous spray seal. A road is said to be in its optimal condition when water is kept away from roads, built on a firm foundation, when designed as all-weather resistance, when they are built on well compacted soil and obviously when they maintain good track records.

But the problem with conventional roads is that they lead to several ecological and environmental constraints which leave a never ending impact not only on human life but also on other life forms. Conventional roads lead to blockage of rainwater, Causes fragmentation of forests. Roads not only serves as a source of interference but also provides space for all other kinds of pollution.

The conventional roads are less durable and not all weather resistant. They become soft at hot weather and heavy duty vehicle on such a road always possess a threat of an accident occurrence which could prove to be fatal. At the same time, Roads at cold temperature could lead to formation of cracks which may result in deformation of roads. Moreover, the most used component in conventional road laying techniques is Asphalt which is a by-product of Petroleum which is non-renewable. So the durability of this method is severely questioned.

Plastic roads

Plastic roads are roads that are either laid completely made of plastic or by collaborating with other construction components. This is an eco-friendly innovation where it uses tonnes and tonnes of plastic which needs to be eradicated from this globe to lead a pollution free world. Some of the plastic components used in road laying are Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)Polypropylene(PP)High Density Poly Ethylene(HDPE), Low Density Poly Ethylene(LDPE).

Prof.Rajgopalan Vasudevan of the Chemistry Department from Thiyagaraja College of Engineering regarded as the “Plastic man of India” is the creator of this innovative idea. It was first tested in his college premises and later patented and then introduced in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand on 30th November 2011 by the Government of India. Now there are around 34,000 km of plastic roads in India predominantly in rural areas. The Advantages of a plastic road are

  • Heating and power generation is incorporated with these roads
  • Plastics gives all weather and wear resistance
  • Around 8 tonnes of plastic is being used per km of plastic road, thus it greatly reduces the magnitude of plastic
  • Using less asphalt saves our resources leading to sustainable development. It reduces up to 2% of global carbon emissions.
  • Easier to use and maintain than asphalt roads


To begin with, the introduction of this idea provided lots and lots of rag pickers with a job where they collect plastic from house hold and they are sorted out as incorporable plastics which can be mixed with the road laying mixture. Then as the next step, this plastic material is shredded using a shredding machine into 2-3 mm sieves using a shredding machine. Now the aggregate mix is heated up to 160 degrees Celsius and added to the mixing chamber and then bitumen is added for good binding and heated at 165 degrees Celsius. Then shredded plastic is added to the aggregate. It gets coated uniformly by oil within 30-60 seconds and laid at a temperature between 110 degrees to 120 degrees Celsius.

Economics of a Plastic Road

Cost plays a major role on deciding whether an innovation needs to be implemented on a daily basis or not. As far as plastic roads are concerned, every kilometre of plastic road consumes up to 8 tonnes of plastic. Plastic roads roughly concedes 8% lesser than that of the cost of an asphalt road, mathematically speaking, after taking all expenses of an asphalt road into consideration we come up with a number of 5,00,000 whereas a plastic road costs only 4,55,000 (per kilometre), saving up to 45,000 every kilometre.

ASPHALT ROAD 500000 5000000 50000000
PLASTIC ROAD 455000 4550000 45500000
SAVINGS 45000 450000 45500000

From this paper we have come up with the following observations

Plastic roads are more durable

  • Cost efficient
  • Eco-friendly
  • Easily maintainable
  • All weather and wear resistant
  • Sustainable solution
  • Provides new employment opportunities
  • Road laying methodology
  • Conclusion

From this above paper we have learnt a new innovative way of roads which not only reduces the cost of laying but also eliminates the treat of eliminating plastic from the society by incorporating them with the laying process. So plastic road proves to be a sustainable solution as well as an eco-friendly approach. Such meaningful innovations are the need of the hour and Plastic Roads prove to be a testimony to the fact that Science leads to betterment of life when used appropriate.


Cite this page

Plastic Roads. (2019, Dec 15). Retrieved from

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