The Public Works Department (PWD) will use the latest technology to replace bitumen-based roads in the State with concrete roads, Public Works Minister V.K. Ebrahim Kunju has said.

“The State will soon get the first 25 km of concrete roads. The government has decided in principle to accept an offer by the Cement Manufacturer's Association (CMA) to lay 25 km of concrete roads free of cost in any part of the State with a minimum guarantee of 25 years. The stretch will soon be finalised by the government,” the Minister toldThe Hindu on the sidelines of the ongoing Infrastructure Conference 2011 here.

The offer has come at a time when the government is facing public outcry over the poor condition of roads and surfacing of potholes in bituminised road across the State. Last year, the State Cabinet had decided to seek a financial support of Rs.1,700 crore from the Union government to concrete over roads in the State.

The PWD had decided that the new roads in the State would be concreted over and that roads that were not motorable would be dug up to four inches and given a concrete layer of six inches. A team led by the PWD Secretary and comprising engineers would soon visit Mumbai to see concrete roads laid there.

‘Only solution'

Potholes developed on bitumen roads primarily due to water seepage and lack of proper sewerage. In a State which experienced two monsoons, concrete road was the only solution, he said.

Concrete roads had many advantages over bitumen roads, both in operational and financial terms. Compared to the 10-year life span of a bitumen road, the concrete road would last 20 to 25 years.

Mr. Kunju said Finance Minister K.M. Mani had announced that funds would be provided for schemes which increased the durability of roads in the State.

As concrete roads were relatively maintenance-free they eliminated the need for frequent traffic shutdowns for subsequent repairs. Concrete roads were impervious to water and to the ill-effects of oil and lubricant spillage. The surface offered better skid resistance also. Goods carriers consumed 15-20 per cent less fuel on concrete roads when compared to bituminous ones. Concrete pavements brought down vehicle running costs by 10-15 per cent.

The PWD Minister said steps were on the anvil to develop properly designed roads meeting the standards laid by the Indian Road Congress. He said the PWD was planning to create a ‘new generation of engineers' to cater to future challenges.

Keywords: PWD