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Saturday, December 9, 2023

‘Full depth reclamation of roads is economical, eco friendly’

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Adoption of full depth reclamation (FDR) technology will revolutionise road construction in Kerala since use of virgin raw materials like aggregate and mud can be reduced by approximately 70%, while resurfacing expense can be lessened by up to 40%, Samson Mathew, Director, National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC), has said.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of a two-day workshop on FDR technology that is being hosted here on Thursday and Friday by NATPAC in association with the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) and the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment, he said it would in turn considerably lessen carbon footprint, besides increasing the lifespan of roads. “In this, up to 30 cm depth of the road surface is scooped out, following which cement and select chemicals are added to it and repaved, thus ensuring a highly durable road. This was done on, among other places, a 6-km KIIFB-aided road project in Adoor in 2018.”

It is also being implemented by a contracting firm in the construction of three stretches of NH 66. NATPAC is involved in the design of nine of the 30 roads that are being done as per the method, which was also adopted in the construction (resurfacing) of another 300 km of rural roads in the State. Over 3,500 km of roads in Uttar Pradesh were built using the FDR method since up to 100 % of the components of the existing roads can be reused for their resurfacing, making it sustainable and cost-effective. Over 300 metres of road can be built every day using the chain of machinery that is needed for the method. It is especially ideal for roads built as per engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode, considering its longevity.

Milling, in which the bitumen layer of roads is scooped out, recycled, and relaid, is yet another mode of lessening the use of raw materials. The two methods also help save energy, lessen the need to transport raw materials, and lower pollution related to road construction. The funds thus saved can be put to alternative use, Mr. Mathew said.

The Public Works department (PWD) has now approved the schedule of rates of FDR, based on which estimates for road construction can be prepared. There are also guidelines on how to implement the technology. The machinery needed are now manufactured in India and are available in Kerala as well, where proper maintenance of roads is a challenge. What is needed is a confidence boost for stakeholders, mainly contractors, since the scarcity of raw materials is emerging as a big problem, he added.

NATPAC had submitted a proposal to the State government in 2020 on how roads could be resurfaced through various modes of recycling.

Inaugurating the two-day workshop, Uma Thomas, MLA, said it was high time roads were constructed by relying on technologies that helped save funds and did not destroy natural resources. The adoption of FDR will help build roads that are more durable than BMBC roads.

Kochi Metro Rail Limited managing director Loknath Behra was the chief guest. Experts from across the country, including from IITs, are attending the workshop.

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