The works will be completed by eight contractors by March
The State Highways Department has taken up renewal works on Avanashi Road from Neelambur junction to Uppilipalayam as part of the regular maintenance work.
An official of the department told The Hindu that works started less than a month ago to renew 16 km of the road at a total cost of Rs. 35 crore. Hence, traffic is diverted to one side of the median in some areas. The works will be completed by eight contractors by March.
Two layers will be laid on the existing road. The road has paver blocks between the edge of the road and the footpath and this will be raised to the new level of the road. “Such renewal works are taken up once in five years,” the official said.
Though the renewal works are a welcome measure, the top layer of the existing road should be removed and a fresh layer should be provided to ensure better quality, according to the industry here. President of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Coimbatore, R.R. Balasundharam, said that the roads should be re-laid after removing the top layer of the existing road. This will ensure that the height of the road does not increase every time renewal works are taken up.
The present method causes inconvenience to the users since the roads are not laid end-to-end on the entire stretch and when heavy vehicles overtake the two wheelers and cars, these are pushed to the edge of the road. Further, buildings on the stretch will also be affected when the road level increases.
The official contends that the system of scrapping the top layer and re-laying the road is yet to be followed in all parts of the State. The cost of the project goes up and the availability of machinery is also not much in all the cities.
K. Viswanathan, former vice-president of the Builders’ Association of India, says that decision on scrapping the road top and re-laying it depends on the grade of the road.
In Chennai, most of the contractors have milling machines. These are single units that dig up the existing road, reuse the scrapped material, and provide a fresh road surface.
Since the cost of the machine is high, contractors have formed groups and jointly invested in the machine or they even take it on lease.
The cost of the entire work is controlled as the dug up material is reused. This should be specified as mandatory in the tender document. The system is adopted in National Highways roads.