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Updated: June 5, 2013 16:01 IST

Dug-up roads soon a problem of the past?

Aloysius Xavier Lopez
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Most of the city’s roads are made of bitumen and cause several problems. File Photo
The Hindu
Most of the city’s roads are made of bitumen and cause several problems. File Photo

Civic body to use new technology to relay 1,041 interior streets; will make repairs much easier

The city is set to rid itself of a perennial, exasperating problem — dug-up roads.

The Chennai Corporation has come up with a proposal to makeover several streets by laying them with precast, interlocking, coloured cement concrete blocks. At present, most of the city’s roads are made of bitumen, posing a number of problems for road-users. Not only do they flood during the monsoons and get severely damaged, they are constantly dug up by service agencies for various infrastructure-related work.

Since the Corporation is now unable to cope with the digging of roads and their consequent repairs, it has opted for this alternative technology, for a chunk of proposed cement roads under its jurisdiction. Several service agencies are yet to complete shifting of underground cables and utilities in many of the proposed roads. The new technology of precast interlocking blocks will make the repair of the roads considerably easier, as individual blocks can be removed and reset for underground work.

As many as 1,041 interior roads with widths ranging from 9 to 4 metres have been identified for the new makeover. The new roads will also be more aesthetically appealing, and will be durable, outlasting a standard bitumen road by two or three life cycles. The roads will last for more than 15 years, said a senior Corporation official.

The civic body has called for bids and work will be taken up in all the 15 zones of the city shortly. The project is estimated to cost Rs. 20.58 crore for 355 roads in zones 1 to 5; Rs. 19.68 crore for 342 roads in zones 6 to 10 and Rs. 22.82 crore for 344 roads in zones 11 to 15.

The road will have a base concrete of 100 mm to 150 mm thickness, and a 40 to 50 mm layer of sand cushioned beneath the interlocked precast blocks. The shape of the blocks is likely to be rectangular or hexagonal.

In accordance with the Indian Road Congress standards, the dimension of the cement blocks will be 200 mm (length) by 100 mm (width) with a thickness of 80 mm. Official say these roads will not become damaged with the difference in temperature in the day and night.

The roads will be also be maintenance-free. They are environment-friendly and, as additional stormwater storage is facilitated, runoff will be reduced considerably. “The work was not taken up in the past only because of a hesitation to try out new ideas. This technology will then be used in bus route roads if it is successful,” said a Corporation official.

More In: Chennai | News

Sandy Road, Gravel Road, Bitumen Road, Cement Road, Plastic Road, Cold
milling technology... and now our roads will be relaid with precast
interlocking coloured cement concrete blocks. It is a good news. But
what happened to the plastic road technology ? Is it shelved ? It was
launched with much fanfare with an aim to maximise the usage of waste
plastics for better use. It is said that in the proposed concrete
block technology, repairs can be done easily as removal of identified
block will be easier and again the place can be closed. What is the
guarantee that the repair works will be carried out perfectly and
professionally in the new technology considering the experience we
have in relaying of the dug-up portions. The new technology should be
applied only after complete shifting of service and utility lines and
relocating the manholes from middle of the road. It is the quality,
workmanship in laying the road and the maintenance after relaying that
gives more life.

Posted on: Nov 10, 2012 at 08:37 IST

I am a Highway Project Manager working with the Municipal Government in the Greater Toronto Area. I am not clear how the use of concrete blocks to surface Roads will solve dig-up problems. In reality it is easier to dig up asphalt roads and repave, than breaking into concrete or removing/replacing concrete blocks to level. Digup problems can be solved by either taking the cables in a duct by the side of the road or going aerially over poles. The cost of concrete block road is manifold than the asphalt road that not even developed countries do.
Again asphalt(bitumen) pavement is not the reason for flooding, it is the absence of proper storm sewer system.
Romans used stone blocks to build the first roads in history, but driving on blocks cannot give a smooth feel as driving over asphalt. There is so much advancement in asphalt roads used for building freeways and autobhans that handle 160 to 200km/hr speed. Technically and Financialy conrete blcok roads are not a good choice.

from:  mani
Posted on: Nov 10, 2012 at 02:41 IST

One of the important aspect of education in US for kids is to cleanup after every
classroom activity. Initially I always used to wonder why do they make kids do this
whereas my experience back in India has always been that the elders/teachers will
take care of that. You can see how that is important. Only 50% is the actual job and
the remaining half to clean up properly. This requires much more of a cultural
change and technology can only help so much.

from:  Senthil
Posted on: Nov 9, 2012 at 17:48 IST

Chennai Corporation can speak to Mumbai corporation before starting work on this, because Mumbai already has some experience. Mumbai faced some problems initially, because of bad quality of work, which Chennai need not repeat.

from:  Ravi Kiran K
Posted on: Nov 9, 2012 at 17:44 IST

Needs appreciation KUDOS to Chennai corporation. Implementing the
scheme should not be a problem as along as quality of sand and cement is
used with right mixture proportion.

from:  PVS Narayana
Posted on: Nov 9, 2012 at 17:04 IST

I don't think this will happen

from:  karthik
Posted on: Nov 9, 2012 at 15:04 IST

Finally, something sensible from the Corporation of Chennai.

from:  Suri
Posted on: Nov 9, 2012 at 13:04 IST

Good news.But as we have seen the poor quality of relaying work on the
dug up roads in the past decades, we can only wait and watch of this
proposed build up of roads and the quality of its cement blocks and its
durability. The Chennai corporation should discuss and co-ordinate with
other corporations like EB, Highways, PWD dept etc and propose providing
enough infrastructure for cabling, Pipes and others beneath such roads
considering the current and future requirements before implementing it. Hope it will give relief to our Chennai.

from:  shiva
Posted on: Nov 9, 2012 at 12:47 IST

How many proposals and plans ? but none put to action. When will the
officials move from the era of inaction to action. The plan for plastic
roads is in limbo due to the non-availability of plastics, no foresight
in planning is plaguing our infrastructure.

from:  venkatesh
Posted on: Nov 9, 2012 at 08:22 IST
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