There’s a new road on Maharashtra’s World Bank-funded Palghar-Mahim highway and it’s not like any road the state has ever seen.
This new road, built by the Public Works Department (PWD) in Palghar district, is composed entirely out of pinewood pulp cellulose.
Representative image of Mahim Road in Palghar. Source: Wikipedia
According to Hindustan Times, the road has been constructed as part of a pilot project. PWD officials were approached by Genesis Infra Project Consultants (GIPC), a Mumbai firm, in 2008 with a proposal for road construction with waste pinewood pulp cellulose, mixed with bitumen and stones. Porus Bhatt, director of GIPC said they offered a state-of-the-art technology for the construction.
“The officials were sceptical at first, but after we gave them a presentation, they gave us the go-ahead. We decided to construct the road on a small part of the highway as heavy traffic passes through that area,” he added.
The stone matrix asphalt (SMA) technology, as it is known, has also been approved by the Indian Road Congress. The technology is used in Europe, China, Brazil and Sri Lanka and requires either waste pinewood or bamboo pulp cellulose extracted from tree barks.
The construction process is also expected to resolve the menace of potholes. According to the Genesis team, the combination of big stones, bitumen and a mixture of pulp and hydrated lime helps to bind the road and can prevent leaks and potholes for around five years.
With the first batch of pinewood cellulose imported from Europe, the expense of construction remains high. If the pilot project succeeds, the officials will consider replicating the technology in other parts of Palghar and also find more economical means of procuring pulp.