The Association of Highways Engineers has urged the State government to restructure the department for equitable distribution of workload and financial powers.
“Presently, the chief engineer, construction and maintenance, has an enormous workload, making it extremely difficult for him to undertake frequent inspections to maintain the quality of construction and to check the maintenance of the roads,” said association general secretary A. Venkatachalam.
In a representation sent to the government recently, it suggested that four wings — construction and maintenance, national highways and rural roads, projects and metro — be merged.
The association has also suggested that the entire State be divided into four regions under four chief engineers with headquarters at Chennai, Tiruchi, Madurai and Coimbatore. A similar system is in vogue in the Public Works Department since the mid-1990s. “This model is functioning very well,” Mr. Venkatachalam said. “The National Highways Authority of India also appoints project directors for projects coming under geographical jurisdictions,” he points out.
The association has also advocated for prestigious projects such as the Tuticorin–Tiruchendur–Kanyakumari Road project and large grade separators, if need be, to be brought under separate divisions, so that divisional engineers and field officers in charge of the particular projects would be able to manage them more effectively.