Concrete to get priority over bitumen

Concrete to get priority over bitumen

The government finally seems to have realised the value of concrete roads over bitumen. The Road Transport and Highways Minister, Nitin Gadkari, in a recently held media meet expressed his preference for concrete and cement over bitumen for road construction. The move will not only improve the quality of the roads immensely, but it will also boost cement demand significantly.

The ministry may enter in contracts with cement companies to buy concrete and cement at cheaper rates. For government-funded contracts, the ministry has already started evaluating cost options for various projects to use concrete cement where there is a lower life-cycle cost. The contract will be structured to ensure that sufficient material is available for interrupted construction at all times and at agreed rate. Since, road construction will require material in high volume, there is a huge scope of discount. Building concrete roads cost almost just as much as laying bitumen roads. However, while bitumen roads require relaying after every 3-5 years, concrete roads can go without repair for 20-25 years.

Concrete roads also reduce vehicle fuel consumption by 10-15 per cent. While bitumen is imported, concrete is an indigenousness material. Thus opting for concrete will save precious forex for the country.

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