May 18, 2016

NHAI to convert 1,205 km of State Highways into National Highways

The Detailed Project Report for laying of a road connecting Anantapur in Rayalaseema with new Capital City of Amaravati will be ready in two months, said Transport and R&B Minister Sidda Raghava Rao.

The straight road, to be funded by the Centre, is expected to cost about Rs.18,000 crore and once ready, the travel time between the two cities will be just six hours.

A team of officials comprising Roads &Buildings Principal Secretary Sam Bob, Engineer in Chief and others left for San Francisco on a study tour on execution of such projects, he said.

Addressing a media conference here on Tuesday, Mr. Raghava Rao detailed the work done by the department ahead of the Andhra Pradesh Government completing two years on June 8.
While the length of roads under R&B is 45,000 km, nearly 4,000 km single-lane roads were widened into two-lane roads.

“While the 10-year rule by the Congress left the roads in a shambles, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu took it upon himself to improve their condition in the State and also lay new roads. Roads are the basic infrastructure required for the industrial development”, he said.

The Government’s objective was to connect rural areas to mandal headquarters, mandals to district headquarters and the district headquarters to the new Capital City Amaravati.

In the current financial year another 2,517 km of single-lane roads would be widened into two-lane roads, 38 km of two-lane roads would be developed into four-lane roads.

Road bridges

The department also proposes to construct nine Road Over Bridges and 25 bridges. Special repairs would be taken up on 2,412 km of roads.

The National Highways Authority of India gave a commitment to convert 1,205 km of State Highways into National Highways. The Roads &Buildings Department allocated Rs.3,000 crore during current fiscal for development of State highways and link roads.

In the 2014-15 fiscal, 1,336 km of roads were widened into two-lane roads and another 3,089 km of roads were repaired and three Road over Bridges and another 20 bridges constructed.
In the 2015-16 financial year, 2,636 km single-lane roads were developed into two-lane roads and special repairs were carried out on 2,890 km of roads besides constructing five RoBs and 18 bridges.

World Bank funds

The roads being laid with World Bank funds such as Rajahmundry to Kakinada were monitored and the contractors who do not execute quality work removed. The R&B also took over 5,420 km of Panchayat Raj roads recently and tenders were being called shortly to develop 545 km of roads.

For the Krishna Pushkaram, R&B would spend Rs.389 crore on improvement of roads and the works completed by July-end, he said.

Source- The Hindu

April 22, 2016

Highway Project Model

Introduced last year by the Union ministry of road transport and highways, acceptance of the hybrid annuity model or HAM for tendering of road projects by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) was initially weak. It continues to remain so.

For instance, the first bid under the HAM model, for four-laning of the Solan-Kaithalighat section in Himachal Pradesh, had no takers. The bid terms had to be revised.

Till date, five projects totalling 279 km (Rs 6,700 crore in value) have been awarded. The FY16 target for HAM was set at 1,400 km. Experts, however, say with more than half of NHAI’s project pipeline lined up under HAM and the government having addressed the sector's key concerns, this is likely to pick up.

After the first bid failed, the government addressed some of the key impediments, particularly on forest clearance and land acquisition. Further, HAM, often referred to as a mix of the Build, Operate, Transfer (BOT) and Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) models, addresses the concerns on both.

Under the latter model, a winning contractor builds the road project and hands it over to the government after completing the construction. Under BOT, he builds the project and operates (collects toll, maintains the road) it, handing it over on completion of the concession period.

Primary concerns such as land acquisition, traffic risk and inflation in BOT projects have been adequately addressed in HAM. Further, with NHAI pitching in 40 per cent of the capital, the project equity risk is likely to be lowered to 18 per cent (as against 30 per cent for BOT) of the project cost, resulting in a superior return profile to that under BOT.
Highway contracts: Hybrid annuity projects to gain pace
HAM scores over EPC for the government as well. From 100 per cent cost of capital to be borne by NHAI under EPC, the exposure is reduced to 40 per cent under HAM.

The question is whether companies would opt for HAM in its new avatar. Virendra Mhaiskar, chairman, IRB Infrastructure, terming HAM a deferred EPC payment structure, feels it might not offer good operating margins or a return creation opportunity vis-a-vis the current BOT model that his company prefers. “Just to wet our feet and find out how really the process happens, we (IRB) might participate in a few bids under HAM but for now, we are not looking at it in a big way,” he said.

Experts say the approach on HAM will depend on a company's stance and current needs. It would have little to do with any concern over the project or model.

Santosh Yellapu of Angel Broking says, “How companies want to build their order books would determine if they want to bid for HAM projects.” According to him, larger companies such as IRB Infra, Ashoka Buildcon and IL&FS Transportation Networks might not participate in the current round of HAM bids, as their current order book is comfortable. Smaller companies such as MBL Infrastructures, MEP Infrastructure Developers and Welspun Corporation, whose order book is in the process of being strengthened, might have more appetite.

A report by ratings agency ICRA adds that features of the HAM model are expected to elicit a favourable response, especially from large EPC players and some BOT ones. Even so, despite a large part of the concerns being addressed, there are other issues influencing companies. Analysts at Emkay Financial Services point to the large difference between L1 (lowest bid price) and L2 (second lowest price) as signifying that no developer wants to bid aggressively.

Some are more optimistic. Kunal Seth of Prabhudas Lilladher feels the larger entities might be warming up to the idea. Also, with BOT projects unlikely to see any meaningful return for older entities such as Gammon, GMR Infra and HCC, given the strain on their finances, some experts feel the trend of declining bids under the BOT model could go on. As more bids open under the HAM model, it might compel the larger ones to change their operating strategy.

For example, the pipeline for EPC projects, though higher than BOT, is less than half that for HAM. “Instead of bidding for three-four small road projects, a large HAM project might be more rewarding for the bigger players as well,” says Seth.

Source- Business Standard

February 22, 2016

Coastal Road Phase 1

The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) is yet to give its final nod for the Rs 12,000-crore coastal road project, but the BMC is gearing up to begin work on it and will be rolling out the work tenders for the first phase in three months. The decision to roll out the work tenders was taken after the peer review report on the first phase.

“The peer review report for phase 1 of the coastal road project is complete and the tenders for the first phase stretching from Priyadarshini Park to Bandra will be out in three months,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Sanjay Mukherjee. Apart from Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances, the civic body is also awaiting clearances from the Navy as well as the Coast Guard, before actual construction of the coastal road begins.

The current BMC budget has made an allocation of Rs 1,000 crore for the project.
The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) is yet to give its final nod for the Rs 12,000-crore coastal road project, but the BMC is gearing up to begin work on it and will be rolling out the work tenders for the first phase in three months. Apart from Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances, the civic body is also awaiting clearances from the Navy as well as the Coast Guard, before actual construction of the coastal road begins.

The current BMC budget has made an allocation of Rs 1,000 crore for the project. The decision to roll out the work tenders was taken after the peer review report on the first phase. It is a detailed study of the project and covers the shortcomings of the consultant’s report. It was submitted on February 17.

“The peer review report for phase 1 of the coastal road project is complete and the tenders for the first phase stretching from Priyadarshini Park to Bandra will be out in three months,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Sanjay Mukherjee.

Apart from making recommendations on the number of lanes, the report also includes a data analysis for different times of the day.

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/maharashtra-work-tenders-for-phase-i-of-coastal-road-in-3-months/

February 18, 2016

Global Bitumen Market @ 72 B and is Growing

ALBANY, New YorkFebruary 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
The global bitumen market will expand at a CAGR of 3.90% from 2014 to 2020. The market was valued atUS$71.44 billion in 2013. It is expected to reach US$93.38 billion by the end of 2020, according to a research report released by Transparency Market Research. The report titled "Global Bitumen Market - Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2014 - 2020".
According to the research report, the global bitumen market is primarily driven by the growing rate of use in construction of roadways around the world. The report states that there is a rapid increase in the rate of creation of roadways and other related activities, creating a high demand for the global bitumen market. Polymer modified bitumen, a type of bitumen, is highly preferred due to the advantages it provides, such as high porosity, high skid resistance, and low noise. All three properties are the most sought-after ones in the global roadways industry, giving PMB an advantage over other materials.
The global bitumen market's growth rate is, however, restrained to a high degree by the environmental hazards created by the use of bitumen. The report segments the global bitumen market in terms of products and applications, and also provides a geographical dissection. By products, the global bitumen market was dominated by PMB in 2013. The segment held more than 65% of the market for that year and is expected to be the fastest-growing segment for the report's forecast period. PMB is also used for waterproofing purposes.
The report states that more than 80% of the global bitumen market, from the perspective of applications, was dominated by road construction in 2013. Other applications of bitumen arise in automotive, adhesives, paints and enamels, and the roofing industries. From a geographical point of view, the global bitumen market was led by North America in 2013. North America took up over 30% of the global bitumen market in 2013, a market share attributed to expansion of state infrastructure. However, the report states that the fastest growth rate in the global bitumen market for its given forecast period will be held by the Asia Pacific region owing to rapid rate of industrialization.
The key players of the global bitumen market are Villas Austria GmbH, Valero Energy Corporation, Shell Bitumen, Petroleos Mexicanos, Nynas AB, NuStar Energy, JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation, Marathon Oil Company, Indian Oil Corporation, ExxonMobil, China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation ChevronTexaco Corporation, British Petroleum, and Bouygues S.A., The report states that the global bitumen market is highly competitive and fragmented due to the presence of a large number of regional players.
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Key segments of the Global Bitumen Market 
Bitumen Market - Product Segment Analysis 

Bitumen Market - Application Analysis 
Roadways 

Waterproofing (Roofing) 

Adhesive 
Insulation 
Others (including decorative and industrial applications) 
Bitumen Market - Regional Analysis 
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Water Over and Under Bitumen

Repairs continue on Northern Territory's Buntine Highway after massive flood washes away sections of road

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Updated 18 minutes ago
The clean-up is continuing after recent severe flooding across the Top End's Victoria River District caused sections of the Buntine Highway to be washed away.
Media player: "Space" to play, "M" to mute, "left" and "right" to seek.

  00:00             00:00       
AUDIO: Gordon Atkinson from the NT Department of Infrastructure says five-metre sections of Buntine Highway bitumen were lifted and carried away by rushing water(ABC Rural)
The NT Department of Infrastructure has confirmed that whole five-metre sections of bitumen had lifted and been carried away by rushing water.
The department's Gordon Atkinson said the rain events had been bigger than anything seen over the past 10 years.
He said it was normal for road surfaces to be ripped up by such intense events.
"The bitumen has water running over the top of it and the water gets underneath and helps to lift it as well, a bit like an aeroplane wing," he said.
Mr Atkinson said the priority was to repair damage and make the highway operational, and that a longer road improvement would continue in the background.
"All our major repairs are finished, so the Buntine Highway is open to major traffic and there are no weight restrictions," Mr Atkinson said.
He said the last bits of resealing required would happen soon and drivers were safely doing 100 kilometres per hour over those sections.
Mr Atkinson said the "mountains of organic debris" left on bridges had been largely cleaned up, with a large quantity of snakes and spiders keeping workers on their toes.
"Nobody got bitten," Mr Atkinson said. "They are used to it now. They've got gloves on, they are using pitchforks, poles and chainsaws on long chain bars.
"They are ready to start running when the snakes appear."


February 3, 2016

Kuwait's Road Project


Mushrif Trading and Contracting Company (MTCC), a leading civil construction firm, said it has been awarded a KD14 million ($46 million) contract for road works aimed at improving traffic flow at Al Bidda Roundabout in the Kuwait City.

The MTCC contract signed by Ministry of Public Works is one of several projects in its pipeline to upgrade and improve the country's road network. It is expected to be completed in the next two years.

Located on the city's eastern coastline where Al Blajat Street meets Al Ta'awon Street and the Fifth Ring Road, Al Bidda Roundabout is a busy junction that often suffers from a slowdown in the flow of traffic.

Given existent construction in the area surrounding Al Bidda Roundabout, no changes will be made to its current size and shape, said a statement from the contractor.

As per the deal, Mushrif 's role will be to construct a grade separated interchange at a north-south axis along the coastal roads, said a senior official.

"Mushrif has been a long-standing partner to the Ministry of Public Works on several projects over the last four decades and has delivered over 20 road projects since," remarked its chief executive Chris Preece.

"We are proud to be an integral part of Kuwait's ongoing development efforts and it's not only about improving traffic conditions, but playing a lead role in 'building' Kuwait," he stated.

According to Preeece, this is the second road contract to be awarded to Mushrif within the last four months.

"We had outbid nine major international and local contractors with an offer at KD82.8 million ($272 million) for ministry tender for a 40-km road serving new developments in the cities of Sabah Al Ahmad and Mina Abdulla including the Mina Abdulla industrial area, and allow for safe access to and from Al Wafra," he added.

In addition to protecting and relocating utilities in the area, Mushrif will be managing traffic during the construction phase to keep the busy Al Bidda Roundabout operational as per Ministry of Interior (MoI) requirements, revealed Preece.

It will also work closely with MoI to install ducting, cabling and CCTV masts for future traffic surveillance and management, while relocating existing security cameras, he added.-

Source - TradeArabia News Service

January 16, 2016

Green Bitumen from Canada

PACIFIC FUTURE ENERGY, which is planning to build the world’s “greenest bitumen-to-fuels refinery” in Canada has announced plans to transport bitumen to the refinery by rail in a near-solid “neatbit” state.
The company initially announced that it would build the C$15bn (US$10bn) refinery on the British Columbian coast back in 2014, and would export refined products, rather than raw bitumen, to Asia. It has now submitted a full formal project description, produced by SNC Lavalin, to Canadian regulators. The refinery will refine bitumen from oilsands in western Canada.
Bitumen is usually transported by pipeline as “dilbit”, a diluted, more fluid version containing about 70% bitumen and 30% diluent, or by rail as “railbit”, which contains around 88% bitumen. Pacific Future Energy, however, believes that transporting neatbit, which is as the name suggests, 100% bitumen, is more environmentally sound. 
The company describes neatbit as having “a consistency similar to peanut butter”, which does not flow unless heated. It has very low flammability, is stable, and is classified as non-dangerous for transport. In the rare chance of a train derailment or a crash, the bitumen could not flow anywhere and would be much easier to clean up, minimising environmental damage. 
First Nations groups and environmentalists alike have criticised plans for pipelines through pristine landscapes. In addition, Pacific Future Energy has pledged to use TC-117 railcars, a new model specifically designed for oil transport.
Pacific Future Energy has selected an area known as the Dubose Flats in which to build the 200,000 bbl/d refinery. The refinery will be powered by wood waste biomass, from the local forestry industry, and the company claims its net carbon emissions will be near zero. 
Exporting refined products will pose less of a risk than raw bitumen to the marine environment in the case of a spill. The refinery is expected to create 3,500 jobs during construction and 1,000 during operation.
“Not only would our proposal provide a value-added way to get Canadian oil to growing world markets, but it would also protect both Canada’s land and marine environments from the effects of a heavy oil or bitumen spill,” said CEO Robert Delamar.
Pacific Future Energy will consult with Canada’s First Nations, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office and the public as it finalises plans for the refinery. The company hopes to begin construction in 2018, with startup scheduled for 2021.
Several other bitumen refining plants are planned on the British Columbia coast, including by Eagle Spirit Energy and newspaper tycoon David Black.