Indian professor tests self-repairing road in Karnataka
An Indian-origin Canadian professor, Mr. Nemkumar Banthia has completed work on a project that helped build a road that could repair itself. The road is located in Thondebhavi village in Karnataka. Targeting greater sustainability and longevity of the road, the civil engineering professor said that the road would prove to be cost-effective and enhance rural road connectivity, improving access to markets for the villagers.
Thondebhavi is a small village nestled in the state of Karnataka, located nearly 90 kilometres off the city of Bengaluru. The hamlet is home to just about 1,200 people, who rely mostly on agricultural produce for their livelihood. The village, with its poor road connectivity, houses one of the biggest cement factories of the cement manufacturing behemoth, ACC.
How is the self-repairing road different from others?
Although the road's construction finished last year, the road was being monitored through summer and during monsoon. The road's thickness is nearly 60% less than regular roads, pitched at about 100 mm. The road, being cemented mainly with flyash, helps it stay environment-friendly and prevents it from releasing greenhouse gases. The road also has built-in crack healing, and is supported by hydration-capable fibres.
Hydration for the road helps crack-healing
"These are fibres which have a hydrophilic nano-coating on them. Hydrophilia means they attract water and this water then becomes available for crack healing," said Banthia.
Why was Thondebhavi selected for the project?
Two years earlier, Nemkumar Banthia, the professor, reached out to the district's local community and other panchayat members. Banthia works under the University of British Columbia's center that focused on improving civic amenities as part of a research partnership between India and Canada. Thondebhavi could earlier only be navigated through dirt-tracks, and the testing of the new road was projected to be fruitful here.
Scouting for more places?
The professor, who hails from Nagpur, is also looking at implementing the self-repairing roads across similar areas in Haryana and Madhya Pradesh. The government is under talks for effecting this across highways in India, while the team is also considering implementing it in Canada.