General News of Monday, 17 July 2017
A Civil Engineer, Mahama Abdullai, has shot down a decision by the Nana Akufo-Addo government to pave roads in the country with concrete.
According to him, such roads aside being too expensive are also difficult to repair.
“When constructing a kilometer 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,” he said on the Citi Breakfast Show on Monday.
Mr. Abduallai’s comment comes on the back of Cabinet’s approval of a proposal for concrete roads in Ghana.
The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia over the weekend, said government will pilot the project with the Tema Steel Works road.
“Why is it that we are not building our roads with concrete and rather doing all this asphalt, bitumen stuff which gets washed away after about 2 seasons. If you look at Tema Motorway which was built with concrete and it is lasting for over 50 and so that sort of got me thinking and we started that discussion. It’s a simple idea but it’s full of wisdom. I checked and I realized that even in India, since 2014 they have a policy to build only concrete roads because it works out much cheaper. Cabinet did decide last week that we should move towards concrete roads as a country. And they are going to do the Tema Steel work road as the pilot road for the concrete roads in this country. It’s a lot of wisdom,” he added.
But the Civil Engineer said the concrete roads will fail if road contractors are not penalized for shoddy works.
“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.”
“…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. Abdullai also explained that, concrete roads might not be too good for the health of cars.
“Have we thought about the noise between the track and concrete? Have we thought about the wear and tear of the tyres that wears easily” Mr. Abdullai asked saying he won’t recommend for government to go that tangent.
“When you are about to do a maintenance on concrete, it is time consuming and creates a lot of discomfort. When you repair the concrete, you need days and weeks before you can bring traffic back whereas when you are doing repair works on an asphalt road, you’d be done in few days,” he added.