Numerous countries around the world are expanding their existing highways in an effort to boost urbanization and industrialization. The objectives of these nations are to improve inland connectivity between major economic centers. However, the construction of vast new road networks drastically alters the landscapes of inhospitable forest areas and causes widespread environmental degradation. It results in the encroachment of the natural habitat of many rare wildlife species and an increase in air pollution.
Reddy Kancharla is an eminent civil engineer and geotechnical consultant from New York with over 25 years of valuable industry-based experience. His areas of expertise are in geotechnical consultancy, civil construction, and implementation of ISO construction quality control standards. He even specializes in designing structural foundations, scrutinizing structural discrepancies, coming up with remedial designs, and scheduling construction projects. He is also the brainchild behind the successful construction of some of the City’s landmarks. These include the JFK Airport terminals, Yankee Stadium, and the USTA National Tennis Center.
In his opinion, highway networks around the world generate the highest level of greenhouse gas emissions and noise disturbance. This is a matter of grave concern for many government agencies and companies specializing in infrastructure development. In a bid to drastically reduce their carbon footprints, these organizations are hiring civil engineers to construct environmentally sustainable roads. The common industry-based construction practices these specialists adopt to build these green roads are as follows:
- Recycling asphalt
Asphalt is a black or brownish viscous petroleum-like liquid that construction workers use to make roads. The manufacture of this substance on an industrial scale is both expensive and harmful to the environment. It releases tremendous amounts of toxic fumes and a hazardous substance called benzene into the atmosphere. Civil engineers are now resorting to re-cycling of old asphalt materials to construct road pavements to minimize the dependence on new sources.
This technique involves breaking down deteriorating concrete pavements to smooth interconnecting stony rubble at their present location. These extremely small disintegrating concrete pieces create a base layer for pouring current hot mix asphalt. Adopting this process, there is no need to overhaul and dispose of the existing pavement material as waste. This results in economical cost savings, conserving landfill space, boosting construction speed, and minimizing dependence on new asphalt supplies.
- Using the rubber of old automobile tires
Many countries generate billions of old automobile tires as environmentally hazardous waste products. Civil engineers are using these tires as a recyclable building material to keep these tires out of landfills for constructing sustainable roads. The process involves blending old automobile tires with concrete rubble waste of previous construction projects. The re-cyclable concrete aggregate (RCA) forms an ideal base layer over which workers add hot asphalt.
In the opinion of Reddy Kancharla the construction of environmentally-sustainable roads is ideal for countries to achieve economic growth and reduce carbon footprints. The civil engineers in-charge of these infrastructure projects can resort to re-cycling old automobile tires, asphalt, or rubblization. Whatever method they choose depends on the cost considerations, terrain, technological resources available, and client preference.