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By T.K. Malhotra

NEW DELHI: Now there is a new technique available to wipe out skidding risk on the roads. A go-ahead has been given by the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) to ‘ecophalt’ technology of South Korea.

Engineers will now be free to use this technology, besides the existing ones, for any road construction across the country. The public works department has already put it to use on a small stretch or road at Dhaula Kuan (National Highway-8) on a trial basis.

According to the Korean firm. Wooil Development Private Limited (WDPL), which is liaising with Indian agencies, the ecophalt technology is in use in over 10 Asian and European countries.

It is called ‘ecophalt’ because it claims to make porous pavements (asphalt), ecologically compatible with all climatic conditions. The technology has a special ingredient, drain asphalt-modified additive (DAMA), which keeps the road dry even during the rainy season or after a snowfall. It sucks surface water, drains it out through pores and ensure fast-moving vehicles a skid free drive, claim officials.

According to the CRRI project leader (pavement design and analysis) Sunil Bose Said: “The institute carried out an eight-month-long laboratory study to determine the compatibility of DAMA as an additive in porous asphalt technology.”

In its certification, the CRRI had said: “The porous asphalt mixes are expected to find applications in India as high-speed, high-density corridors (particularly the expressways) are gradually becoming the order of the day.”

In the past few months, WDPL had given extensive demos before Delhi urban development minister A K Walia besides the city’s premier agencies –PWD, DDA and Delhi State Industrial Development Corporation. The agencies are however apprehensive about the cost of ‘ecophalt’ in India. The raw material, DAMA, has to be imported from South Korea.

The DDA engineer-member Prabhas Singh said: “Cost-effectiveness is definitely a bottleneck for this technology, since we have many cost-effective roads already laid down. However, considering transportation of raw materials from a foreign land and longevity of the roads, one may not be so disappointed immediately, because you can always start manufacturing DAMA here.”