Anti-smog track is being built in Częstochowa
Concrete that cleans the air in the city? It is possible. Such an innovative solution is being implemented in Częstochowa during the general renovation of the track. Over a thousand metres of track will be laid from prefabricated slabs made in the TX Active technology – thanks to it, a photocatalytic surface will be created, which guarantees the improvement of air quality in the city centre. The participants of the press briefing at the popular “Kwadraty” talked about this green, safe and comfortable solution for the life of the inhabitants. The representatives of the city authorities, MPK (Municipal Transport Company), and contractors were in agreement. The technology used in the construction of the new tram line along the old route in the centre will allow us not only to drive around the city more comfortably, but also to breathe easier.
“Ecology is one of the priorities of this construction, along with the safety and comfort of traveling around the city. I am glad that, next to the trees that we have managed to preserve in Wolności Street thanks to the efforts of municipal services, now our ally in the fight for better air in Częstochowa will be the modern construction technology, the elements of which we are introducing. We are the first city in Poland where part of the track will be built of special photocatalytic concrete, which, simply speaking, acts as an air filter,” said Krzysztof Matyjaszczyk, Mayor of Częstochowa.
Photocatalytic concrete is laid in the track from Al. Najświętszej Maryi Panny to the vicinity of the bus station. In the opposite direction, from Al. Najświętszej Maryi Panny to Jasnogórska Street, an aesthetic, green grass track will be constructed.
“The approved project assumes 1030 metres of a single track, i.e. approximately 515 linear metres of track, to be constructed in the anti-smog slab technology. We will lay the green track on the section of approx. 350 metres,” explained Barbara Sobczyk, NDI Contract Deputy Director, and adds “This solution will be a very reasonable combination, from which not only passengers will benefit the most but also all residents of Śródmieście, as well as those who move around, work, study in the centre or simply stay here.”
It is estimated that about 50,000 people die each year from smog. It consists of harmful chemical compounds that pose a direct threat to human health. It is an allergenic factor that causes many serious diseases of the respiratory and blood systems. Children, the elderly and pregnant women are most exposed to it. In order to reduce the risk of problems of this type for the inhabitants of Częstochowa, it was decided to use an innovative technology reducing air pollution. Due to the presence of titanium oxide in track-road slabs, the phenomenon of photocatalysis is used, as a result of which NOx compounds are reduced and removed from the atmosphere.
How does concrete eliminate smog? – “TX Active technology is based on the use of a photocatalyst, i.e. a substance that accelerates the natural decomposition of pollutants under the influence of sunlight. Materials or products made in this technology are capable of reducing the concentration of harmful organic and inorganic substances in the air and maintaining the original aesthetics of these products for a long time.
The conducted research has shown that in sunny weather, as a result of photocatalysis, approx. 90% of nitrogen oxides, as well as aldehydes, benzene and other organic compounds are neutralised. Even on cloudy days, with little sunlight, 70% of air pollutants are removed or neutralised. The test results showed a reduction in NOx concentration in the area of the pavement made in the TX Active technology from 20% to 60% (47% on average) in relation to the section of the street with the asphalt pavement. In a word, thanks to this technology, the pollutants instead of going to our lungs will end up in the sewage system with rainwater,” explained Andrzej Bywalec, a representative of Contrail, a manufacturer of innovative track slabs.
This method for the construction of the track has also other advantages. The surface that is created after making the concrete slabs can be used, for example, as an emergency road for emergency vehicles: ambulances, security services and other vehicles. It will also be used for more efficient servicing of the overhead network. This method of constructing a section of the track in a place with a lot of access roads to properties and roads crossing the tracks improves its functionality.
In Częstochowa, almost 14-kilometre-long section from Fieldorfa-Nila Street to the loop at Aleja Pokoju is modernised. NDI carries out works for Miejskie Przedsiębiorstwo Komunikacyjne (Municipal Transport Company). The investment is implemented on the track system in its existing condition, divided into sections, i.e.: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5a, 6. It includes the replacement of old track elements with new ones, but also the reconstruction of the tram line infrastructure along with the overhead network, control, cabling of the tram line, road (car) crossings and streetscaping.
The contract is carried out in the “design and build” system. Some sections are divided into sub-sections, for which the contractor had to obtain separate administrative decisions allowing for the implementation of works. Track works were preceded by works related to the reconstruction of the underground infrastructure, which clashed with the investment. It has been and continues to be a challenge to work in the very centre of the city, so as to limit disturbance to residents of Częstochowa as much as possible.
“In the near future, it is also planned, among others, to change the geometric layout of the intersection with Orzechowskiego Street in the area of Rady Europy Square. This task is covered by a separate contract. The works covered by the contract include part of the green track, part of the traditional track and works related to the construction of platforms and parts of streets. We plan that the trams will return to the route at the beginning of September this year,” sums up Barbara Sobczyk, NDI Contract Deputy Director.
The value of the investment reaches PLN 115 million and, together with the purchase of ten modern Twist 2.0 trams, is the largest modernisation contract in the history of Częstochowa trams. In total, PLN 205 million was allocated for this purpose under the Better Communication in Częstochowa Programme, of which PLN 144 million is co-financed from EU funds obtained by the municipal services.