Bhubaneswar: With use of waste material for road construction and safety as its theme, the platinum jubilee celebrations of the Indian Roads Congress (IRC) kicked off here Sunday as experts favoured cement for new road projects in place of hitherto popular bitumen.
Attended by about 4,000 delegates from across the country and abroad comprising engineers and technologists, the five-day Congress would focus on deliberations on major issues like modern technology in road construction, IRC functionaries said.
"The theme for 75th Congress includes safe roads for all and use of waste material for road construction," IRC President Sunil Bhowmik told reporters here.
With the availability of natural materials required for road building dwindling, the focus now is to seriously consider use of non-traditional substances like plastic waste and industrial waste and slag, he said.
Participants at the IRC, which would have six technical sessions, would examine ways and means of reducing dependence on bitumen and promote waste items for road construction, Bhowmik said.
The discussions would centre around issues like use of modern technology in construction of roads, use of fly ash and other waste products in road construction, on designing of roads so as to prevent accidents, he said.
Likewise, preparing computer database of roads and its use for better management and carrying out maintenance and repair works would also be discussed, IRC Secretary General S S Nahar said.
Referring to alterntives to traditional materials used for road building, S N Das, Director General (Road) in Union Road Transport Ministry, said use of cement replacing bitumen in new road projects is now being considered and the government has taken initiatives in this regard.
Use of cement in road projects would be cost-effective as such roads would last longer and reduce expenditure on account of maintenance substantially, he said.
While Odisha's Rural Development Minister Badri Narayan Patra inaugurated the technical session at the IRC this evening, the Congress is scheduled to be formally inaugurated tomorrow in the presence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, organisers said.