What if you could have an all-weather road that allows rainwater harvesting and costs barely a fourth of what a normal concrete one would? Eastern Railway (ER) has come up with just such a model in Panagarh, about 150 km from Kolkata, by utilising disposable released concrete sleepers.
Disposable released sleepers are those replaced by new ones during track renewals.
“Recently, the Asansol division of ER constructed a kmlong RCC road between two level crossing gates, using nearly 10,000 released pre-stressed concrete (PSC) sleepers. The sleepers were laid on a 300-mm thick layer of stone dust. After laying the PSC sleepers, the gap was filled with stone dust and tamping was done before filling with concrete to prevent ingress of water in the formation and get a smooth top surface,” said Nikhil K Chakraborty, CPRO, ER.
According to engineers, the road is strong enough to accommodate heavy vehicles. “PSC sleepers are very strong and can withstand the passage of trains over them for years. This stretch will be very helpful for people as there is regular damage of normal roads due to the passage of heavy vehicles in the area. Another important advantage is that any sleeper that develops cracks due to regular passage of vehicles, can be isolated and replaced, without having to tear up the whole stretch. This can be done is a short time,” one of them said.
According to him, the road has an in-built rain water harvesting system where rainwater is gently soaked through pores all over the stretch in the gaps between sleepers. Its surface won’t get damaged by ingress and accumulation of rain water as is the case in conventionally constructed roads. The 1-km stretch has been constructed at a cost of Rs 36 lakh, whereas it would take nearly Rs 1.34 crore to build a conventional concrete road of this length and strength.
Thousands of PSC sleepers are released by the railways every year and the Asansol Division plans to put all of them to use at various locations. According to Chakraborty, this is yet another environment-friendly step of ER to address the twin issues of disposal of released sleepers and reduction of carbon footprint.
Source: Times of India