According to a senior government official, the Ministry of Road, Transport, and Highways aims to initiate trial projects across 25 states, covering a total of 86 kilometers of highways, within the next six to eight months. Following this phase, the ministry will evaluate the feasibility and potential benefits of scaling up the use of bamboo crash barriers, which could be a significant advantage for bamboo growers. As production volumes increase, it is anticipated that the cost of constructing crash barriers could decrease by 10-20%.
The existing price of steel barriers varies from Rs 1,200 to Rs 2,500 per meter, depending on the thickness, weight, and quality of the metal used. In comparison, bamboo offers a cost-effective alternative, particularly considering the rising prices of steel due to shortages and mining challenges. The ministry has conducted pilot programs and is now eager to incorporate it as a component of its green highways initiative.
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Bamboo’s unique hollow circular structure, along with its robust internodes, provides strength and flexibility, allowing it to quickly regain its original shape after a vehicle impact. This not only enhances safety for vehicle occupants but also minimizes damage to the vehicle itself, the official said.
The durability and longevity of bamboo can be enhanced through a specialized treatment process, ensuring its resilience in various weather conditions. India, being the world’s second-largest bamboo growing country after China, has over 13 million hectares of land dedicated to bamboo cultivation, with an annual production of over five million tonnes.
Bamboo is a fast-growing and resilient plant that requires minimal water and maintenance, making it ecologically sustainable. Additionally, promoting bamboo as an additional crop could boost rural and farm incomes.
The success of this model could also inspire Indian Railways to consider using bamboo for fencing along railway tracks.