First white-topped road in capital

The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has now stepped in to develop the first full-fledged concrete pavement in Kerala. In 2011, the State had refused 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 State’s failure to make use of the CMA offer was despite the Planning Board Sub-Committee, headed by E. Sreedharan, recommending concrete pavements initially on stretches where there is major upgrade and wherever new roads are laid. The PWD converted the 5-km HMT-Manalimukku road on the airport-seaport corridor in Kochi into a concrete road at a cost of Rs.17 crore. The Kerala State Construction Corporation (KSCC) had executed the work for the PWD.

The 16.5-km stretch of the NH 66 bypass from Mukkola on the Balaramapuram-Vizhinjam road will be the first full-fledged planned and designed white-topped road. Director of Natpac B.G. Sreedevi said the decision was laudable although the initial cost is higher.

“Planning is needed and utility lines will have to be shifted before the stretch is concretised,” she added.

Besides enhanced life span, concrete roads are impervious to water and to the ill-effects of oil and lubricant spillage. Goods carriers consume 15-20 per cent less fuel on concrete roads when compared to bituminous ones. Concrete pavements also bring down vehicle running costs by 10-15 per cent.

White topping is 200-250 per cent costlier than the bitumen road construction. “Maintenance cost is almost nil for the cement pavements compared to the bituminous roads,” says Chief Engineer PWD (NH), K.P. Prabhakaran. In 2010, the State Cabinet had approached the Union government for Rs.1,700 crore for giving a white topping to roads following the outcry over the poor condition of bitumen roads in Kerala.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 3:12:01 PM |

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