Here in the UK we are constantly subject to the power of the seasons. This winter has been the coldest on record with snow and rain and regular red warnings being issued by the Met Office. Unfortunately, this weather brings with it damage to the roads. Monster pot holes are now forming the in hope of shattering suspension and splitting alloys across the country and as a result creating more and more jobs for aspiring mechanics. Good news for mechanics! Bad news for motorists.
India used to face similar problems to us. However, in a certain legendary town, Chennai, there is a street called Jambulingam Street, whose main road has taken a turn for the better and hasn’t suffered with potholes for years. The tar road in the hustling Nungambakkam area has survived through major flooding, several monsoons, reoccurring heat waves and a steady stream of cars, trucks and auto rickshaws without showing the usual signs of wear and tear.
This road was developed in 2002 and hasn’t exhibited the holes, cracks and usual wear and tear we usually suffer from back in Blighty! The reason behind this is that Jambulingam Street was one of India’s first plastic roads which was developed to help combat the growing plastic waste problem.
An early performance report by India’s Central Pollution Control Board stated, “The plastic tar roads have not developed any potholes, rutting, raveling or edge flaw, even though these roads are more than four years of age”. This gained support from scientists and major politicians and led to another 21,000 miles of plastic road in India today. Their top benefits are noise reduction, which may help with test tracks that are located by housing estates and regulated by the council, along with prevention of cracking after a harsh winter like the one we have just suffered in the UK.
Cost vs ROI
Although the cost is perhaps the only negative point, using the plastic–mix tar can increase the price of a road by 30-50%. However, the return on investment and benefits to the environment make the venture worthwhile. So much so that even India’s Prime Minister has given the project his blessing calling it Narendra , who has made “Swachh Bharat” (which translates to “Clean India”) a kind of personal crusade. As well as making it mandatory for road construction in urban areas where over 500,000 people live.
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