The world over, road construction is expensive and time consuming. Therefore the
vast majority of roads, particularly in Africa remain what is known as “Dirt-Roads”.
These un-paved roads especially when exposed to heavy vehicles in the rainy season
tend to disintegrate and make travel difficult, even hazardous. Economics dictate
if a road gets paved or maintained, therefore most rural and even some urban roads
remain in a “Bad” condition, causing travel delays and damage to vehicles, negatively
affecting the area and indirectly even the economic potential.
Fortunately, there is a solution.
For some years now, European and American companies have researched and provided
a very viable and cost efficient alternative to being forced to pave roads at great
expense, to make them less vulnerable to rain and heavy traffic.
A system known as Ionic Soil Stabilisation has been developed and proven in many
applications the world over. It is an organic, non-toxic , environmentally friendly
compound that alters the molecular interaction in soil.
Normally what happen when soil is exposed to water, is that each tiny particle ‘gets
wet’. This microscopic wet layer serves as a lubricant between the particles, allowing
water flow through the soil and movement of the soil mass as a whole. This is then
evident as mud, and when walked or driven on the mud moves and spreads, resulting
in slippery conditions and when the mud gets too deep, makes it difficult or even
impossible to drive on.
When stabilized, the tiny soil particles do not remain wet, when exposed to water.
This allows effective compaction, preventing more water from getting into the ‘mix’.
The surface becomes almost ‘waterproof’. Treated areas then allow heavy traffic,
without the expense of paving.
Soil Stabilizers have been in use for over 20 years in sometimes very arduous conditions.
Applications would include:
Mining haulage ways
One 210-litre drum is sufficient to treat about 7000 m2 of construction area; by
conventional means 60 to 80 tons of alternative stabilizers would be required.
No specialized equipment is needed either. A water bowser with spray attachment,
a steel drum compactor and a grader with ripper attachment is all that is required.
In some applications tractor mounted implements have been proven sufficient.
There is no need to asphalt top the road, as the stabilized surface is waterproof.
At present conditions, in 2016, the stabilisation chemical material component of
the road would cost about US$ 1.90/m2.
The fast, 0,5 km/day +, construction speeds save on labour time.
Not having to transport materials to site, are a further saving.
Ultimately, with the financial and time savings, many more kilometres of road can
be built and maintained with the given budget, providing good and safe transport
routes to more residents than ever before.
The effects are evident in the pictures to the left. The pictures of a rural road
were taken after more than 250 mm rain in about 48 hours, less than 1 Km apart. On
the left, an un stabilized section. On the right a stabilized section.