Concrete roads way forward for State: Task Force

Potholed and worn-out roads will soon be a thing of past if the Karnataka government implements the recommendations of the Task Force for Quality Assurance in Public Construction.

The task force, in its interim report submitted to the State government recently, has recommended white topping or concreting of existing roads and Interlocking Concrete Paver Blocks (ICPB) system for new roads in all municipal areas.

This will ensure durability and economy, the report said.  The 10-member task force, headed by C S Vishwanath and comprising civil engineers, urged the government to stop using bitumen for tarring roads as it is not water resistant. It has asked the government to replace the existing asphalted roads with concrete roads in all municipal areas in the State by 2015.

White-topping means laying concrete on the existing asphalted roads. Whereas roads can also be formed using concrete blocks under the ICPB system. The average service life of these roads is between 30 years and 40 years.

While white-topping is recommended for roads with high traffic density, the ICPB is appropriate for new roads where the traffic density is low.

Though the cost of concrete roads is 80 per cent more than asphalted roads, when durability is considered, they are cost effective. White-topping of roads and laying roads under the ICPB system costs 40 per cent and 20 per cent more than bitumen roads respectively, the report added.

Ravindranath, member secretary of the task force, said bitumen roads cost about Rs 90 lakh for a kilometre and last for five years and concrete roads cost Rs 1.10 crore for a stretch of one kilometre and last for 40 years.

Citing Mumbai’s example, he said half of the city gets submerged during monsoon. As a result, asphalted roads give way quickly. The Mumbai local civic body decided in 2006 to adopt white-topping of roads which last longer. Even in Bangalore, concreting of roads should be taken up, he said.

There are 923 km of arterial roads and 1,017 km of sub-arterial roads in the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike limits.

Every year, the Palike spends approximately Rs 1,000 crore for laying and repairing roads. Instead, concreting of roads at a cost of Rs 2,000 crore will make them durable, the task force suggested.

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