LOW-MOISTURE ROAD BUILDING METHOD TESTED IN MALI BY UNITED NATIONS

In many of the world's arid or semi-arid land areas, a significant cost element in rural road construction is the amount of water normally needed for compaction. Traditional technology requires from 200 to 300 cubic meters of water per kilometer. Since supplies must often be brought in over long distances and much is lost through evaporation, it is difficult to justify rural roads through desert areas economically. This article describes a method developed in Mali to reduce the costs of these roads. The roads were constructed from natural lateritic gravels with low water content, using compaction equipment which is widely available commercially. Results of laboratory tests showed that it is feasible to obtain the compaction and stability standards normally recommended for construction of earth roads by using natural lateritic gravels and only one-sixth to one-twelfth the amount of water required by traditional technology, provided that compaction equipment and methods are carefully chosen. The techniques also make it possible to save on energy required for pumping, hauling, sprinkling, and mixing operations. Engineers estimate that construction costs can be reduced by 8 to 20 percent in arid regions and approximately 7 percent in non-arid regions. In addition, roads built with the low-moisture techniques can be maintained either by hand labor or machinery at a fraction of the normal maintenance costs.

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  • Accession Number: 00319417
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 15 1981 12:00AM