Friday March 24, 2023

Construction and maintenance of roads

July 16, 2022

Potholes and the disintegrating road surface are a common scene in Rawalpindi city. The poor roads are giving a very bad name to the city. What is the root cause of this frustrating situation?

“To gauge whether a road surface is being laid properly, no supervising body is there to check the material composition, quantity of bitumen, and thickness of the newly-laid road. The issue is the lack of an independent regulator for road quality. The road and drain work is not subject to any standards and regulation,” says Ulya Batool.

“The concerned department tries to get around this by pretending that the contractors are doing the work, and it is itself the overseeing agency. However, that is not true. Whether done by itself or through contractors, the concerned department is legally responsible for the work,” adds Ulya.

“Making contractors responsible for maintenance of roads they asphalt without potholes will not work. Add a clause to this effect to the agreement made with the contractors. The final payment should be made at the end of the maintenance period with proportionate payments being made at the end of each year,” says Zulfiqar Ali.

“There is no history register for every road to specify the length and width of the road along with details like the nature of the surface, drainage, kerb openings, culverts, etc. Periodical repairs undertaken, maintenance, and up-gradation done for the surface must be recorded in the history register,” says Qaem Raza.

“The road-cutting, which is not approved by the concerned department, should not be allowed. There is a need for strict enforcement by assigning responsibilities to concerned officers of each area. Those attempting to cut or encroach upon a road should face legal action,” says Dabeer Haider.

“Road-cutting by both private entities, residents as well as commercial organizations like telecom firms, and utility agencies continues on the ground without any restraint. The main reasons are laying sewer or water pipelines or phone/internet lines,” adds Dabeer.

While some road cuts are covered with concrete, many are left that further wear out the road surface. Road cuts for speed-breakers are left barely covered by city residents. Half the road is cut and left uncovered by sewage work done and road left unrestored, damage to vehicles is common on such roads,” says Zillay Huma.

“Contracts should cover maintenance; it should apply both to major roads and minor roads. In Rawalpindi, minor roads are used as major roads due to a lack of choices. There are other issues also like contractors not being paid on time,” says Sadaf Zahra.

Saulat Abbas says, “No one should be allowed to dump construction materials, debris, etc. taking up the road’s space. Citizens also need to show better civic sense and avoid taking up road space for private purposes.”