Construction, Knowledge and Information

Concrete Road or Black-Pitched Road in Nepal? Which is best?

Written by Roshan Bhattarai · 3 min read >

Hello readers, hope you are doing well. By now, we have seen different infrastructure development projects going on in many places of Nepal. The one which we see the most is the construction of roads. There are many road construction projects going on in hilly areas as well/ Today in this article, we have created a kind of debate “Concrete road or black-pitched road in Nepal? Which type of road suits the best for Nepal?”.

Image: BP Highway, Sindhuli

Moreover, we can find different types of roads in Nepal. For instance, Earth road, Gravel road, Bitumen (black-pitch) road, Concrete road, and Water-Bound Macadam road. Not to mention, for now, we are focusing on which road suits the best in Nepal. Thus, we have prepared a brief comparison between concrete road and bitumen road. Now, let’s know more about the pros and cons of these roads in terms of the geographical as well as economical factors of Nepal.

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Types of Roads in Nepal

Here are the types of roads in Nepal that are found in almost every region for transportation.

Earth Road

Earth road is the method of preparing the road using natural soil. It is famous in semi-rural and rural areas. We can see such roads in most places of Nepal. It is also called Offroad. Moreover, these roads are specially made for heavy vehicles, such as tractors, trucks, and buses rather than luxurious cars.

For constructing this type of road, all we need is the excavators and rollers for compacting the soil.

Gravel Road

Another very popular type of road in Nepal is the gravel road. The gravel road is a bit advance than the Earth road. It is suitable in semi-rural, semi-urban, and rural areas of Nepal as they have lower traffic moves. For constructing a gravel road, we use the same process as the earth road along with adding a layer of gravel. After the compression process, a layer of gravel is added and compressed again.

 Water Bound Macadam

Image Source:

In the water-bound macadam (WBM) roads, constructors bound the interlocked broken aggregates with water and filler material before compression. WBM is a high-quality road than gravel road or earth road because of the compacted mass.

These three types of roads are suitable for rural or semi-rural areas and places where the traffic flow is low. Also, these roads require less budget and time.

Now let’s talk about the other road that is favorable for the place with high traffic flow.

Which Suits the Best for Nepal? Concrete Road or Black-Pitched Road in Nepal?

The other two types of roads mostly used in Nepal are bitumen roads and concrete roads. Bitumen roads and concrete roads are expensive, lengthier, and require expertise for construction and maintenance than other types of roads to construct. But these are durable compared to other types of road. Now, let’s know about them in brief.

Bitumen Road / Black-Pitched Road

The bituminous road is one of the most used road construction methods in Nepal. It is also known as black-pitched road. Here, bitumen is used as prime material in this road. Bitumen is flexible and binds the material. Here, aggregates, sand, gravel, stones are mixed with bitumen and compressed.

It has four layers of bitumen. The base layer is the thickest and the above three layers gradually keep on thinning as they get to the top. Because of the bitumen elasticity as it gains the shape of load above it.

Also, bitumen is waterproof, thus maintenance and construction are easy. Th road needs expertise and time for construction and maintenance.

Concrete Road

Image source: Civil At Work: Concrete road

The concrete road construction method uses a mixture of Portland cement and asphalt. This type of road is best for the place with higher traffic flow. The edges are thicker than the middle part. It is durable than other types of roads.

This is an all-weather road and also requires lower maintenance. However, it is expensive for construction. It differs from bitumen road; this road is not flexible to accommodate the heavy load thus making it vulnerable to damage.

One of the reasons to make concrete roads is the easy availability of raw materials such as cement and sand. There are many cement companies in Nepal. Thus, we can say, we can be self-sufficient to produce cement as much as required. This will in turn benefit the cement industries in Nepal and help the national economy grow.

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Pros and Cons of Constructing Concrete Road or Black-Pitched in Nepal

Advantages of Concrete Road

Concrete roads are durable.
Concrete is recyclable, thus we can use it again.
There is no environmental pollution while construction and repairing.
Concrete roads can bear huge loads.
Raw materials are available easily.
Concrete roads are less brittle.

Disadvantages of Concrete Road

Repairing is difficult for concrete roads.  
Concrete roads don’t give a smooth ride. To create enough grips on the road, we need to brush texture into the surface.
The costs of concrete roads are higher both in installation and repair.
Spills, vehicle chemicals, and other pollutants do not absorb into concrete, and these materials are prone more to slippage during rain or snow.

Advantages of Bumen Road

Bitumen road is economical and durable
Smoother and comfortable to ride.
Bitumen road is black, so it absorbs the solar heat that keeps the roads clear faster after storms, rains, and snowfall.
Easy to maintain and repair.

Disadvantages of Bitumen Road

Bitumen is mostly imported from other countries.
Expensive for repair and maintenance.
Bitumen roads are highly prone to brittle.

Which one is better; concrete or black-pitched road in Nepal?

By now, you have known the pros and cons of concrete roads and bitumen roads. Thus, you can simply keep in mind that concrete roads are expensive to repair. Construction and maintenance than bitumen roads, so if you are low with the budget you can go with bitumen road.

Bitumen roads are durable but not as durable as concrete roads. Concrete roads are less prone to brittle than bitumen roads. As for comfort, grip, and smooth ride you can prefer bitumen roads.

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