Steps initiated to review condition of roads, progress of ongoing works

The Public Works Department has initiated steps to review the condition of roads and expedite repairs in the wake of observations of the Kerala High Court.

The department decided to review section-wise the condition of the roads, progress of the ongoing works, and the urgent works to be taken up in all districts. The first in a series of review meetings was held in Ernakulam on Friday.

Official sources told The Hindu that a comprehensive action plan would be prepared on the basis of the review meetings in the districts, which will discuss all issues.

The PWD had also decided to take up full-fledged repairs of the roads across the State that had become un-motorable immediately after the monsoon, the sources said.

The roads were under the PWD, national highway and local bodies.

The damages to the roads this monsoon had been estimated at over Rs.300 crore. The government had allocated Rs.145 crore to speed up road repairs.

The hurriedly convened meeting in Kochi was attended by the PWD Secretary and top officials, including the Chief Engineer, Roads and Bridges.

It was held a day after the High Court directed the government to provide details of the amounts earmarked and utilised for development and maintenance of the roads.

A PWD official said funds were not a problem in taking up repair works of the roads that had been riddled with potholes. The re-laying could begin only after the rainy season.

New methods

Transport planners said the PWD and the NHAI would have to explore new methods of road relaying works in the State to ensure that the bitumen layer did not wither in rains and had good life.

The 14-km road developed under the City Road Improvement Project in the State capital in 2005-2006 had withstood the weather and traffic. Good compaction, modern construction techniques, and quality of bitumen and aggregates had given life to the roads.

While teflon addictives and 60-70 VG 30 bitumen having higher bonding and melting point had been used in the CRIP roads, the PWD used 80-100 bitumen that had lower bonding capacity and melting point.

They said PWD contractors were yet to use batch type hot-mix plant that offered uniform mixing of bitumen. Conventional drum-mix plants were used and bitumen was not laid at 120 degree Celsius, which resulted in lack of bonding and development of potholes.