General News of Monday, 17 July 2017
A civil engineer, Mahama Abdullai, has urged government to penalise contractors who undertake shoddy projects in the country by blacklisting them.
According to Mr. Mahama, such punishments will serve as a deterrent to contractors who offer substandard services.
He observed that there are instances where road projects which are supposed to have a lifespan of between 15 to 25 years only give away after two or three years.
“…If we do not start to blacklist contractors in the country, then we have nowhere to go. There are asphalt roads which are being constructed in this country, and the minimum years for asphalts roads are supposed to be about 15 to 25 years but now we have asphalt roads which are just lasting for three to four years and they are breaking. This is because the contractors are hiding under the cover of defect liability period. After one year the contractor is paid his final certificate, he walks off, the road gets spoilt, and nobody charges that contractor,” Mr. Mahama said on the Citi Breakfast Show on Monday.
He made the remark while commenting on why he thinks concrete roads are not the solutions to Ghana’s fast deteriorating road infrastructure.
The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia over the weekend said Cabinet has approved the construction of roads in the country with concrete, adding that they will use the Tema Steel works road as a pilot project.
But Mr. Mahama shot down the decision saying aside being too expensive, concrete roads are also difficult to repair.
“When constructing a kilometre of concrete road, let’s just say the last layer that will cost you about GHc1.85 million. Let’s say you are taking 7 meters per width by 1000 meters. The asphalt will cost you about GHc1.3 million, that’s the final layer. But all the components underneath the concrete or asphalt are the same. The concrete roads or the asphalts are only the finished roads. The methodology of any road construction right from the subgrade to formation, to sub-base to base, that is where the meat lies. If you don’t compact your sub-base and natural base well and you put the concrete on the road, however extensive it is, it will fail. Have we thought about the noise between the track and concrete in the vicinities? Have we thought about the wear and tear of the tyres that wears easily?”
Mr. Mahama also explained that, it is time-consuming undertaking maintenance works on concrete roads saying “it creates a lot of discomfort.”
He said “when you are repairing the concrete [road], you need days and weeks before you can bring traffic back whereas when you are doing repair works on asphalt roads, you’d be done in few days.”