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Guidelines for ‘plastic roads’

The National Rural Roads Development Agency of the Ministry of Rural Development has come out with guidelines for laying rural roads using waste plastic. They are based on the recommendations of R. Vasudevan, Dean, Thiagarajar College of Engineering (TCE), Madurai, and Central Road Research Institute.

The TCE has patented a technology to coat aggregate with waste plastic while laying roads. Roads using waste plastic have been laid at several places in Tamil Nadu and other States, especially in Mumbai, since 2002 and the results have been positive.

The guidelines recommend the use of poly films with thickness up to 60 micron, hard and soft foams and laminated polymer with thickness of up to 60 micron. However, poly vinyl chloride sheets (flex sheets) should not be used. The process of coating aggregate with molten (waste) plastic does not require any machinery. No toxic gas evolves in the process. There is no need to go in search of waste plastic as it is abundantly available anywhere.

The Ministry has pointed out that though the cost goes up by Rs.2,500 per tonne for modifying bitumen with shredded waste plastic, the increase in cost is compensated by lesser bitumen use, better performance and environmental conservation.

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