Green road construction measures have been implemented in all areas of the United States now, although not with the level of strictness as what perhaps should be implemented. Over the years, new technology has improved old techniques while simultaneously introducing new methods for sustainable road construction. Let’s now go through the three most crucial aspects of sustainable road construction methods that are in practice today.
Conservation Efforts in Planning and Supervision
Highways often go through forested land, mountains, hills and other natural formations, leading to the destruction of entire ecosystems, deforestation, soil compaction and loss of local fauna in huge numbers. An environmentally conservative approach to both design and execution can prevent this to a great extent. The ideas behind the conservation strategy can be briefed as follows:
- The areas the road will go through must be analyzed well in advance for the presence of animal habitats
- If endangered habitats are found, the plan must be revised to accommodate the findings
- The plan should be laid down in such a way that the road construction is least damaging to the surrounding environment
- There should be active supervision to prevent the loss of forested land beyond what is necessary
Waste Management and Recycling
Waste produced during road construction is often a big problem, which is why cold recycling is such an important aspect of green roads. We will get to that part in the next segment. There is the need to have a proper waste management plan which takes into account factors such as:
- Tree trunk and branches removal
- Boulder and broken stone removal
- Prevention of groundwater contamination
- Minimizing air pollution by utilizing eco-friendly combustion methods for asphalt and cement production
- Re-usage of the available road building materials
Sustainable Use of Soil Stabilizers and Road Reclaimers
Soil stabilizers cause the soil to compact, which is necessary for a road to last for a fair number of years, but sustainable use is extremely important since compacted soil cannot sustain plant life. Additionally, chemical soil stabilizers like cement kiln dust (CKD) are known to be dangerous environmental contaminants.
Road reclaimers, on the other hand, allow for cold recycling, a method through which old asphalt is recollected and reused with added reinforcing agents. This helps in keeping the need to manufacture new asphalt to a minimum, thus reducing the air and groundwater pollution caused due to road constructions.
Roadtec is one of the manufacturers of mechanical soil stabilizers that minimizes the need to use chemicals to achieve the same effect. The soil stabilizers also double as road reclaimers for cold recycling. The machines are capable of working in various conditions, allowing the contractor to minimize asphalt and concrete production in nearly any area where a road already exists.
Unfortunately, there is no mandatory federal standard implemented by the US Transportation Department on road construction even in 2020. Nevertheless, it should be noted that on being able to successfully follow these guidelines, it is possible to get the U.S. Government’s Green Road Certification. Not only does that emphasize the effectiveness of the simple procedures mentioned here, but the certificate itself is a lucrative one for road contractors. It should make it easier for them to land more road construction contracts in the future.