green roads

The short answer is "yes". In fact, the idea of sustainable, eco-friendly roads has been around for a while.

The concept of environmentally friendly roads is the focus point of non-profit organisations such as Green Roads Council of South Africa (GRCSA) and Greenroads.

Along with other countries across the globe, South Africa is already implementing some of the basic tenets of green roads in the construction of pedestrian bridges and roadways.

Green roads rating systems

Together with funding research, and getting citizens to donate time and money to sustainable projects, these organisations have formulated roads’ rating systems.

Highways and byways are rated according to various criteria and, based on the total score, the construction companies are given high fives, or brickbats.

These independent ratings are designed to challenge project teams to consider using alternative materials, technologies, and systems, throughout the life cycle, in order to produce planet- and people-friendly transportation infrastructure.

Due to South Africa’s history and high unemployment rate, the GRCSA is keenly focussed on the socio-economic impact of building sustainable roads. Using only locally sourced materials, and providing jobs for community members are key to a good or bad score.

What are green roads?

The basic premises of green roads are based on what we already understand as ‘green’:

  • the use of recycled and recyclable materials
  • cutting greenhouse gas emissions
  • promoting community involvement
  • minimising water usage and the generation of waste.

Practical examples of green road implementation

To give you a better idea of what green roads actually mean, here are a few practical examples:

  • using warm-mix, instead of hot-mix, tar in order to cut down on the emission of toxic fumes and pollutants
  • integrating stormwater systems during the build to prevent water damage and minimise repairs
  • installing traffic flow measures to avoid traffic jams, unnecessary idling and the associated high levels of carbon emission
  • creating multi-mode infrastructure suitable for pedestrians, bicycles and electric cars
  • maximising community safety by installing walkways and pedestrian bridges.

How South Africa is embracing the green roads concept

South Africa has notched up several successful Greenroads projects, with KwaZulu-Natal leading the way.

The Model Kloof Pedestrian Bridge in Ladysmith was recognised for creating a safe route between two communities over the N11. It provided road safety training and also involved school kids in an art installation project.

The M5 road rehabilitation programme in eThekwini used warm-mix asphalt and reclaimed materials, while the resurfacing of the main road between Umhlanga and Umdloti is one of the featured success stories on the Greenroads.org website.

Technology of the future

Scientists and environmentalists are hard at work developing innovative ideas and technology to support the green roads concept. This includes road materials that have no carbon footprint, cost 75 percent less than asphalt or tar, and are waterproof, renewable, and incomparably tough and durable.

Another great leap into the future is the suggested use of solar panels, instead of concrete or asphalt, to surface pavements.

These walkways will be able to capture the sun’s rays and produce electricity for the grid. Their construction and maintenance will be self-sustaining, and in sunny climes like ours, they could easily generate a profit.

Our role at KH Plant

green roads kh plant

At KH Plant we support the "green roads" concept by reconditioning Caterpillar 140G, 140H and 140K motor graders. This involves restoring used motor graders to "as new" condition, optimising their performance and fuel efficiency, and reducing emissions.

That has benefits for the environment – and for customers, it means you can get the benefits (and life span) of a new motor grader at a fraction of the cost of a new machine. Contact us for more information or a quote.

Contact us for a quote