Bio-enzymes for better roads? Nitin Gadkari's ministry explores new material for making highways

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Bio-enzymes for better roads? Nitin Gadkari's ministry explores new material for making highways

The road transport and highways ministry is exploring the use of new material and technologies like bio-enzymes made from plants and vegetables and thermal insulators for making highways.

If the ministry of road transport and highways has its ways, there could soon be a robust network of waterproof roads in India - which means lesser potholes and fewer road accidents.

The ministry is exploring the use of new material and technologies like bio-enzymes made from plants and vegetables and thermal insulators for making highways in the country.

These ingredients will not only make roads more durable but also the waterproof coat and use of prefabricated drainage system will reduce road damage due to rains.

A coordination committee constituted by the ministry of road transport and highways is examining these technologies that will be put to use after getting a nod of the Indian Road Congress (IRC) and subsequently of the ninemember national panel of experts (NPE).

TERRAZYME

The panel has referred to IRC a proposal to use Terrazyme, a bio enzymatic soil stabilizer, used in making of highways.

Terrazyme is a natural, non-toxic and liquid enzyme made from fermentation of plants, extracts of vegetables and fruits.

According to the proposal, this improves workability and adds strength to soil while making roads. This product is already being used in rural areas of Karnataka.

Sources said Terrazyme has also been used in making all-weather roads in Western Ghats, besides black cotton soil.

Black cotton soil, though very fertile, is not a good foundation for construction. It easily shrinks and swells with changing moisture content.

Due to intensive shrinking and swelling, the surface develops cracks.

However, the bio enzymatic soil stabiliser has yielded great results, when added to this soil.

Experts have said even a small amount of rainfall, can make black cotton soil impassable. Due to its plastic nature, the soil sticks onto wheels, animals' feet, clog cultivation machines, and are hard to remove.

"For making roads over black cotton soil, stabiliserneeds to be added. This is important keeping in view the durability and safety of roads," they said.

FOCUS ON QUALITY

A senior transport ministry official said the government has set its target of constructing 41km of national highway per day and hence focus has been shifted to quality of roads.

India has the world's second-largest road network and is among the nations that have recorded the highest numbers of road accidents globally.

Last year India recorded more than 1.5 lakh deaths from about 5 lakh accidents. Nearly one-tenth of the deaths were caused by road accidents behind which potholes played a part.

Based on a proposal, the use of hybrid geo synthetic non-woven glass fibre - which is thermal and electric insulator - is also being examined.

Officials informed this has been used in patches on the DND flyway in the Capital. Further, coal tar-based waterproof coat for roads is also being considered. This prevents ingress of water and can also seal cracks and pores in roads.

The National Highways Authority of India has also plans to utilise solid wastes from Ghazipur landfill in construction of Delhi-Meerut Expressway to curb pollution.

It is already utilising fly-ash for earth filling purpose in the Eastern Peripheral Expressway.