Audio: Over GH¢11m spent on road maintenance alone in second quarter of 2014

Available figures put together by reveals that some GH¢11, 408,756.4 million was spent on routine and periodic road maintenance alone in the Greater Accra region from April to June, this year.

A total of GH¢3,389,405.4 was spent on the patching of potholes on some roads in Accra, which include Tema, Ga West, Ga East, Ga South, Ashaiman and Adentan while desilting of the drainage systems in these same areas and Ga Central, amounted to GH¢1,214,714.0.

Both the pothole patching and desilting fall under the routine maintenance schedule.

The total cost of gravelling, surfacing and resealing of roads as well as drainage structures, which fall under periodic maintenance, also summed up to GH6, 804,637.0.

The essence of this publication is to educate and inform the public on how road maintenance especially, pothole patching is milking the country’s economy dry.

Although the huge sums of money and other resources being channeled into making the roads better for motorists, almost every road in the country has very deep ‘cut wounds’ (potholes) on them making driving uncomfortable.

Contractors are even exposed when the rains set in. The rains erode the surfaces of patched roads which were shoddily done, leaving motorists, who are also tax payers to question the kind of materials used in the process and the quality of supervision.

Potholes patching spoke to the Deputy Director of Maintenance and Operations at the Urban Roads Department regarding the cost of patching roads in the Greater Accra region.

Available document showed a total of GH¢3,389,405.4 was spent in the second quarter alone in six different areas.

According to De-Graft Afful, the money involved in reconstructing new roads is so huge that government has to always resort to the routine pothole patches to keep the roads motorable.

The cost of patching these potholes, he admitted was less as compared to the several millions used in building new roads.

“The money involved is so huge when we want to reconstruct. So for the time being; we try to patch so that the public will have a comfortable ride as we plan for resources to reconstruct these roads or apply asphalt overlay or reseal them,” he said.

According to him, after the roads have outlived their life span, they ought to be rehabilitated to give road users smooth access.

Explaining further that, a typical surface dressed road is supposed to last for seven years while an asphalted road has a life span of between 10 to 15 years depending on the thickness of the asphalt.

However, due to financial constraints, he pointed out “we’ve not been able to do anything on them” and therefore, have sought to patching them.

He indicated “if we don’t do these stop-gap measures, the roads are going to totally collapse and you will ride on big; big potholes and you’ll start complaining again.”

Asked if the huge sums of money used in patching existing roads could not be channeled into the construction of new roads, Mr. Afful responded it is better “to keep your old asset in very good order before you add on”.

“But here, everybody is crying for a new road and the temptation is that, we go out there trying to meet that need and then the old roads are all left behind, hence the problem we are going through.”

He emphasized that “we need to preserve the investment and then we will carry on with other more investments that we want to undertake.”

Bylaws to protect roads
Touching on laws governing road users, Mr. Afful indicated that the Urban Roads itself did not have any laws and so, it is the Assemblies’ responsibility to ensure that the roads were protected, mentioning that they have enough by laws to do this.

The public, he added has the responsibility to also ensure that “the roads that have been built in our areas; nobody will misuse it. If we do that, the roads will last for a very long time. But it’s like nobody cares.”

He also noted that through the Road Fund, public fora were held periodically in all the regions to educate people on how to preserve the roads to last long.

Click audio to listen to Mr. De-Graft Afful
President-elect of the Ghana Institution of Engineers, Kwaku Boampong also spoke to, saying, the patching of potholes on the roads was part of minor routine activities done to preserve the roads from further deterioration.

“But in our system, because we do not have the money to do it, sometimes we are not able to follow the maintenance schedule for the roads. So we try to use what we have,” he said.

Durable roads
Long lasting and durable roads, according to him, depended on a lot of things including the number and classes of vehicles, which would be plying the road.

“In the design, you will pick previous information that is available and then you project into the future. If you want the road to last for may be, ten years; then you project into the future.”

And for those ten years, there should be some periodic maintenance action by strengthening the pavements to some levels, he added.

Click audio to listen to Ing. Kwaku Boampong
A visit by to the Ledzokuku-Krowor Municipality saw patching works being carried out on affected portions of the roads.

Municipal Roads Engineer at LEKMA, Domingo da Pilma Lekettey observed that the cost of patching potholes could not build new roads since huge sums of money were required.

He said typically, about GH¢40, 000, depending on the work to be done, could be used on road patches in a month, noting that every square meter of potholes patched cost GH¢31 and the larger the potholes, the higher the cost.

He said currently, all ongoing works in the locality are premix patching, explaining, it is “a mixture of quarry dust, ten millimeter of chippings, mixed with bitumen.”

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