Four major Kolkata roads to receive ‘pollution-free’ mastic makeover – Times of India

Kolkata News

KOLKATA: A number of prominent roads in the city are set to be repaired using a technology that promises to make the process completely pollution-free.
Next month, the state public works department (PWD) will re-pave the battered and cratered VIP Road, along with Red Road, Hospital Road and Mayo Road, using ‘mechanized mastic asphalt’, a method that will be used for the first time in the city.
Track the pollution level in your city
PWD engineers claimed that the technology could be a “game-changer” in road building. The “Gussasphalt machine” being imported from Germany, they said, will also make the work five times faster than existing methods.
Mastic asphalt, for long favoured by road engineers because of its durability, proved to be problematic because the method used to manufacture it is highly polluting. Following a National Green Tribunal ruling banning mastic asphalt “baking” by the roadside, the state gov-ernment, too, in 2018 had pushed for an end to the method, suggested the use of concrete or bitumen in road-building.
But bitumen is not an ideal choice in a city prone to waterlogging, as it wears out faster; the presence of utility services, such as power cables, beneath city roads, raised accessibility problems in case of concrete roads. “Considering the amount of rain Kolkata receives, nothing but mastic asphalt can make roads last long,” said a senior PWD official. “After the NGT and state government orders, we started to look for ecologically sustainable alternatives. In India, only Mumbai roads have been constructed using this technology. We will be among the first ones to use it in eastern India. Once the trial succeeds, more roads in and around the city, along with bridge surfaces, can be re-layed, using the technology,” he added.
The technology allows for mastic asphalt baked in a plant away from the city to be carried in a large boiler attached to a truck, where a temperature of more than 200°C will be maintained to keep the mastic in perfect shape. The vehicle will also be attached with a separate scraper, mixer and paver, which will scrape the top and re-lay it with mastic asphalt. “While the current manual job can barely cover 100 metres per night, the new technology will help us repave around 500 metres to 700 metres a night. It will make repaving road surfaces much faster and completely pollution-free,” the official said.
“After a series of talks with the government, we called a tender last year and found a bidder, who agreed to buy the German machine and adapt the new road re-laying technology. We have awarded the contract to the agency, which is waiting for the machine, worth around Rs 26 crore, to reach the city. It is in transit and should reach by the end of this month, following which work can start,” he said, adding that preparatory internal repairs were already going on.