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Touts Revolutionary roadbuilding method

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Sept. 26, 2008) – An Israeli company might have the answer to Papua New Guinea’s roadworks nightmare.

Professional Reinforcement Solutions Mediterranean Ltd and the Government on Wednesday night signed an agreement to engage the company in five pilot road projects in the country to test whether its revolutionary road building method, using a honey cone shaped layer made from a composite material of steel and plastic is the answer to stabilising roadworks foundations.

PRS Mediterranean chairman Brig Gen Meir Gahtan said after the signing in Port Moresby yesterday, his company was confident of passing the test as it had built thousands of kilometres of roads in 44 countries worldwide.

Mr Gahtan said the PRS system was in the long-term cheaper than the conventional way of building roads as the material used in the foundation layer was made to last up to 70 years.

The conventional way of building roads involves paving an asphalt road over compacted granular fill layers.

The PRS road system involves the deployment of a layer of "PRS Neoweb Cellular Confinement System" followed by infilling the array with low-grade granular fill materials and paving over the granular fill with a layer of asphalt. Benefits of the new system over the current approach include better distribution of stresses, particularly by heavy vehicles, significant improvement in load bearing capacity, easier and faster installation, minimal load damage or maintenance and improved confinement of soil particles preventing erosion from weather and internal flow. Brig Gen Gahtan said his company was excited about being engaged in the pilot project as the success of this would mean long term commitment which could see a plant set up in the country to manufacture the material used in the Neoweb Cellular Confinement System.

National Planning Minister Paul Tiensten and his Secretary Joseph Lelang signed the agreement with the Israeli company. The agreement gives the greenlight to the company to work on five problem sections of the national road network grid to test the material in PNG conditions.

First up is Central Province’s portion of the Magi Highway from Kore to Hood Lagoon and Kaparoko to Hula.

This portion of the highway involves three soil conditions, solid soil, swamp and sand. The other four road sections under the pilot project are critical sections of the Highlands Highway, East New Britain’s Lat to Tarongal and Open Bay to Tol road, Gulf’s Kikori to Kaiam and the Tolukuma mine road project in the mountains of Central Provionce. If it stands up to the test, it could be the solution to the country’s costly road maintenance bill.

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