New Indian bitumen standard for roads

Pavements and roads that crack and turn sticky in the summer heat could soon be a thing of the past. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has issued new guidelines specifying the use of surfacing materials based on both traffic load and pavement temperature. This move aims to make Indian highways smoother and safer.

Bitumen 60/70
Bitumen 60/70

The new guidelines mandate that all new road projects consider temperature and axle load (traffic weight) variations, rather than just weight-carrying capacity. The changes will alter the specifications for using bituminous binders on highways. Different grades of binders will now be specified based on prevailing loading, ambient temperature, rainfall, snowfall, and speed. This will make pavements more durable and highways safer, with fewer breakages or potholes, reports Mint.

Load-Based Binders

Bituminous binders, essential components in road and pavement construction, act as the adhesive that holds together the stone, sand, or gravel in asphalt mixtures, creating a durable and flexible surface. The MoRTH guidelines now account for various mixes used for specific traffic loads and different climatic zones, considering ambient temperature, rainfall, snowfall, and traffic intensity across India.

Climate Considerations

A task force constituted by MoRTH recommended the appropriate type and grade of bitumen or modified bitumen for different climatic zones, which formed the new guidelines. These guidelines apply to all new projects for which bids are now being invited. Additionally, the quality of highways will be checked during the re-laying of existing roads, the source added.

Evolving Infrastructure Needs

“There is a noticeable shift towards constructing wider roads, from 4 lanes to 6 lanes or 8 lanes, reflecting evolving transportation needs and the push for smoother traffic flow and safety. The government is not only focusing on new road construction but also on expressways, dedicated elevated corridors, and grade separators to reduce travel time and supply chain costs,” said Daleep Thusu, Senior Vice President and Transportation Expert at Rudrabhishek Enterprises Ltd.

Ensuring Quality and Durability

The new planning efforts aim to ensure the construction of durable pavements that can withstand heavy traffic volumes across all climatic conditions. Using appropriate pavement materials is expected to improve the lifespan of expressways and substantially reduce operation and maintenance costs. The government plans to award 10,000-12,000 km of highways in FY25, all of which must adhere to the new bitumen specifications.

These changes mark a significant step towards enhancing the quality and longevity of India’s road infrastructure, ensuring safer and more efficient travel for all.

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