A new high-tech road technology treatment is reducing airborne dust, protecting workers’ health while also cutting drought-time water usage in Port Moresby by millions of litres a year.

A recent local trial has led to a new partnership between an Australian infrastructure company and a local business that will pave the way to more water savings, less dust and safer worksites across the country during times of drought.

Australian infrastructure technology company Global Road Technology (GRT) last month conducted an on-site demonstration of its patented liquid polymer solution on a dirt haul road at the Napa Napa refinery. GRT sprays its solution on dirt roads and industrial areas to provide “instant roads” and suppress dust on worksites. The World Health Organization recognizes airborne dust as a workplace hazard, which can cause disease, disability and death. André Morris, Managing Director of Montana Civil Constructions PNG, said he was stunned by the results. “We’d trialed a few other different polymers, but they didn’t do what this product does,” Mr Morris said. “With the drought, we had to have security guards and roadside workers wearing dust masks literally all day long, which is bad for their health and tough on the vehicles. “An hour after this application, the workers had removed their dust masks and have continued to work without them despite hundreds of heavy vehicle movements each day. “Previously we needed to use a tanker to spray water each hour to keep down the dust. Three weeks later we still haven’t had to use water and people are coming to see how we did it.” Mr Morris said the company’s spray tankers would not be needed for dust suppression on the road for at least three months, at which time a minor maintenance application would be applied. “The instant demand for this technology has meant we are now having to expand Montana Civil PNG’s equipment and operations” Mr Morris said.

GRT has now signed an exclusive partnership with the Port Moresby-based company to be the exclusive PNG distributor of GRT’s products which included shipment of 600 tonnes of product and a Wirtgen Wr2400 road recycling machine. Mr Morris said in addition to the safety and environmental benefits, there were financial savings as well. “We were spending 10t per litre of water for up to 40,000 litres a day, which is a substantial saving.“I’ve been doing this for quite a while in PNG and if I had this product four years ago I can guarantee there would be a lot more all-weather roads in the Gulf province. “Using this technology on more industrial and local government roads will be good for nearby workers, for motorists and the community at large.”

GRT Managing Director Troy Adams said the company’s technology meant it could provide roads which would survive the wet season with minimal impact compared to dirt roads, could be built faster and cheaper than other technology such as bitumen, and were safer for workers. “Local workers should not need to wear dust masks to do their job, so we are pleased to see the improved health for workers who are already using our technology,” Mr Adams said. “Everyone in PNG knows the significant damage weather can cause to dirt roads, but this is proof that there are cost-effective solutions to cut dust and reduce maintenance costs, which is a win for all concerned. “Delivering this project took several days, compared to other technologies which would usually have taken months.”

With road works contracts now coming in GRT expects to open an office in Lae and expand its laboratory and engineering division, with the opening of a Port Moresby based geo-technical laboratory in the coming months.

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