MU Partnering In A Use Of Plastic Waste In Asphalt Endeavor

The University of Missouri is partnering with the Missouri Department of Transportation and Dow to test mixing plastic waste into the asphalt pavement mixtures that would eventually be used for roadways and bridges. Asphalt pavement mixtures are generally created from mixing asphalt and stone, sand, and gravel. The partnership will study the viability of using plastic waste for road pavement mixtures.


Bill Buttlar with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering with the University of Missouri says engineers and students are researching how plastic drinking bottles, grocery bags, and drinking straws may be incorporated into asphalt pavement.


The demonstration that he refers to is the use of the pavement on a deteriorating section of a highly travelled Stadium Boulevard in Columbia near the University of Missouri campus. That stretch of roadway generally receives 36,000 vehicles per day.


The team working on the project will observe the area for at least one year that includes one summer and one winter season. He says the overlay should last for 12 to 15 years before needing to be replaced. Buttlar says the recycled materials can extend pavement life by increasing the roadway’s strength and toughness.