When the entire old foundation of a road can be incorporated into a completely new, strong and watertight road in one process, huge savings can be made. Little material needs to be removed, the construction time is shortened by up to 70 percent, and the costs drop by up to 30 percent. The same technique can also be used in hydraulic engineering, for dikes for example. Hence the water sector’s interest in HITEC Road’s soil stabiliser technology. HITEC Road is a new member of the Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP). CEO Ankie Kamstra explains more.
"It's actually simple. We use everything that is already there and just add cement, water and our own HITEC – Novocrete® additive. We call it our secret Coca-Cola recipe. The additive is made of natural minerals and bonds well with all types of surfaces. It creates a waterproof, strong and semi-flexible layer that can absorb the vibrations of heavy traffic. These qualities make it very versatile. It can be used for roads, of course, but even for airports and container terminals. They become safer, stronger, environmentally friendly and climate resistant. We can tackle the most challenging road projects, no matter what soil types they are.”
A kilometre a day
“Once we have prepared everything, the actual work is very quick. We can build a kilometre of road a day and traffic can use it again a few hours later. And as we reuse everything, we hardly have any waste. This, on top of the short construction time, means that the process has a much smaller environmental impact and lower CO2 emissions. If we rebuild a road’s foundation, you can leave it for years and do not need to carry out the usual annual maintenance.
We already work internationally, and have done projects in the USA, South Africa, Jordan, Belgium, France, Colombia, Bolivia and Argentina. We also participated in a seminar organised by NWP on Argentina. Abroad, most of our work is still mainly on road construction and port terminals, but we want to broaden our scope to the water sector.”
“We see very interesting opportunities in the field of dike reinforcement and there is a lot of interest from that sector in the context of the Dutch Flood Protection Programme. Our solution reinforces vulnerable peat dikes sustainably, quickly and relatively easily. We have developed a special soil mix trencher machine that processes the material, including peat, to 15 metres underground and, with our additive and cement, turns it into a watertight 0.5 metre thick wall. This method is an alternative to steel sheet pile walls laying against piping, a major problem in peat and clay dikes on sandy layers.
It can also increase stability at the macro level, and is durable and maintenance free. Our HITEC – Novocrete® process could be attractive to vulnerable countries with modest budgets. I would be delighted if we could do our bit to achieve the SDGs in the field of water safety.”
Longer working season
“Our fast pace of work has an extra advantage for dikes. In the Netherlands, work on dikes is normally not allowed between October and April. But heavy rainfall and high water can be predicted days in advance so we would still have enough of a window of time to get the job done during this period. We would like to work with the Dutch Water Authorities to further develop our solution and deploy it at a large scale in the Netherlands, and beyond of course.
Our technology also lends itself well to reinforcing the beds and slopes of canals. We are tendering for the Seine-Northern Europe Canal jointly with a French contractor. This is a planned waterway that will link the industrial regions around the Seine River with those around the Scheldt River.”
Cooperation is essential
“We have only been a NWP member for a few months but already have many potential clients, thanks in part to the active mediation of NWP. I hope we will find even more partners to cooperate with through NWP’s extensive network. Collaboration with good local partners, both in the Netherlands and abroad, is key to success."