By: Pune Pulse
October 28, 2023
Pune: India is seeking to replace steel crash barriers on highways with bamboo in order to enhance safety and reduce overall construction costs.
This technology, which has been patented in India and meets European Safety Standards, is anticipated to significantly contribute to the green economy and decrease highway construction expenses by up to 20%.
According to a senior government official, the Ministry of Road, Transport, and Highways intends to commence trial projects across 25 states, covering a total length of 86 km of highways, within the next six to eight months. Following this phase, the ministry will evaluate the feasibility and potential advantages of expanding the use of bamboo crash barriers, which could prove highly beneficial for bamboo growers.
As production volumes increase, it is expected that the costs associated with constructing crash barriers could decrease by 10-20%. The cost of current barriers varies from ₹1,200 to ₹2,500 per meter, depending on factors such as thickness, weight, and quality of the metal used. The ministry has already conducted pilot projects and is now eager to incorporate this technology as part of its green highways initiative.
Bamboo offers significant cost savings compared to steel, given the daily escalation in steel prices driven by shortages and mining challenges. Its hollow circular structure with robust internodes provides strength and flexibility, allowing it to quickly regain its original shape after a vehicle impact, thereby enhancing safety for vehicle occupants and minimizing damage to the vehicle.
Additionally, a specialized treatment process can enhance bamboo’s durability and longevity, ensuring its resilience in various weather conditions. India, the world’s second-largest bamboo growing country after China, has over 13 million hectares of land under bamboo cultivation, with annual production exceeding five million tonnes. Bamboo is the fastest-growing and resilient plant, requiring minimal water and maintenance, making it ecologically sustainable and a potential additional crop to boost rural and farm incomes. The Indian Railways could also replicate this model for fencing across railway tracks.