Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Should roads in Bangalore be given to private players? What are the new technologies adopted in road construction or what makes a model road? Times City gives a lowdown

Though the experts point out the perils of excessive re-surfacing of roads in the city, the residents have no alternative but to settle for it as they address the immediate concerns. K Ramanath, general manager and dean, RASTA Centre for Road Technology, says that resurfacing of existing city roads at frequent intervals has resulted in bituminous layers with thickness of 0.5 metres or more in many old arterial roads.
Methods have also been specified by the Indian Roads Congress (IRC) and the ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) like cracksealing methods and construction of thin layers to improve the riding quality. But there’s a near consensus on what ails Bangalore’s roads on the technical front: improper drainage system.
“Micro surfacing is one method adopted for preventive maintenance of pavements in developed countries. This technique is only applicable when the pavement is structurally adequate,’’ says Ramanath.
Ramanath also recommends recycling, where existing materials of old pavements are re-used for the construction. This needs to be taken up on trial for small stretches. According to Ramanath, its advantage lies in reduction of environmental degradation without choking the drainage system.
Bring in big players
The lack of accountability in road works — as the reputed contractors keep off — is one concern that has been raised, time and again, by the urban planners. In Bangalore, smaller contractors are awarded a substantial chunk of the works because most of them are taken up on small, arterial stretches.
The focus, though, should also be on ensuring that the contractors have adequate technical knowledge irrespective of their operations’ scale. Ramanath says the lack of technical knowledge of client engineers, contractor engineers and the lack of willingness to upgrade themselves are major concerns.
“Big or small contractors does not make any difference as long as the contractors are aware of the technicalities of the road-building process and adopt the specifications,’’ says Ramanath.
He, though, says small contractors seldom have the road-building process knowledge. It is better to have a blend of local and large contractors. “Most importantly, there should be healthy competition that should abide with the best industry practices,’’ he says. A performance and maintenancebased contracting system, along with stringent penalization, is the way forward.
New technologies
“This road has been laid using plastic,’’ announces a signage on a Cubbon Road stretch. The plastic experiment — that was initiated in Bangalore in a modest way — has returned good results. But the future of the technology, that gets plastic mixed with bitumen for laying roads, is still dependent on the administrators’ acceptance.
It was in 2001 that Ahmed Khan, MD of K K Plastic Waste Management (KKPWM) Private Limited, experimented with the plastic-bitumen mix on the roads of Maddur. The BBMP has since used the mix on about 600 km of roads, including K H Road, Miller’s Road, Cunningham Road, Shankar Mutt Road and J C Nagar Road.
While the experts swear by the longevity of plastic roads (about twice as durable as tar roads), the idea is yet to take off in a big way. One stumbling block is the erratic collection of plastic waste. Of about 35 tonnes of plastic waste generated every day, only two tonnes reach KKPWM.
Alternatives like concrete roads have been mooted by experts and isolated stretches in interior localities were taken up for the works as well. Factors like cost continue to be a hurdle.

Potholes vanish Men were at work on Church Street and Rest House Crescent on Tuesday morning. The first day of the TOI campaign against bad roads showed some action — BBMP started repairing these roads. With asphalt mix and road rollers, BBMP engineering personnel filled up potholes and craters on these stretches. This is not all. The civic body has promised to take up asphalting of Church Street and Rest House Crescent as soon as the weather is conducive for laying of bitumen macadum. Many problematic roads of East Zone will also be covered as part of this exercise


Post a Comment

<< Home