Govt chooses cement over bitumen for new road projects

25 September 2014

Cement will be used as the raw material for new road projects

The government has decided to abandon bitumen—the popular raw material for road construction—in favour of cement for all new road projects, in line with a proposal by transport minister Nitin Gadkari.

The ministry has also changed the model for assessing the project costs. They will now be evaluated on the basis of the life cycle cost of the project, rather than just the cost of construction.

“We have decided to start using cement for all new projects that are in the pipeline as long as the cost of construction of a concrete road is not more than 20% higher than a bitumen road. Using cement will bring down the cost of maintenance significantly. So, the consultant will now evaluate the project on the basis of the cost over the life cycle of the project instead of how much it would cost to construct it, which means incorporating the maintenance cost of the project,” Gadkari added.

Cement will be used as the raw material for the project unless the government-appointed consultant for evaluating the project makes a case against it.

Further, the ministry has floated a tender to fix an annual rate for cement that will help explore a competitive price for the raw material. The developers will be able to purchase cement for road construction at this price from the cement manufacturer.

 “Concrete roads are better in many ways, and if constructed well, the life is much better. While the upfront cost is higher, the life cycle costs can be similar to bituminous roads, provided the cement can be sourced at reasonable rates,” said Parvesh Minocha, group managing director at infrastructure consultancy Feedback Infra Pvt. Ltd.

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