China has completed its first expressway built from waste, a 122km road running between Lintong and Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi Province.
With a designed speed of 120 kilometers per hour, the 122-kilometer expressway links Lintong District with Huxian County under the provincial capital of Xi’an. The expressway is the first in China to use construction waste as building material for the roadbed, said officials of the Shaanxi transportation department.
A total of 5.7 million tonnes of construction waste was used to build the expressway, with an average of 46,700 tonnes used in each kilometer. That amount of garbage usually requires 3,000 mu (200 hectares) of land to bury.
Compared with traditional building materials, construction waste is stronger and more stable, but it is difficult to separate and extract useful materials such as steel bars and bricks from the garbage, and special equipment has been developed for garbage separation.
The use of recycled waste has helped the project avoid using 3.4 million cubic meters of sand and burning 32,000 tonnes of coal. A 360-mu area of landfill was cleared and over 700 mu of land has been saved from excavation. The land saved has created about 300 million yuan (47.07 million U. S. dollars) in economic benefits.