Govt-formed Committee Finds “Quality Failures” in Road White-topping Works

Bengaluru: The investigation into white-topping and tenderSURE works, ordered by Chief Minister B.S Yediyurappa, has found “several quality failures” while executing the projects. The Committee, however, could not corroborate BJP’s charges of irregularities with the report stating that there was no “willful impairment to the designs and estimates with an intention to misappropriation.”

The report mentions the following:-

  1. On CV Raman road, it is noticed that bitumen filling for joints is not done for one entire lane. Bitumen filling should have been done before opening the traffic. Traffic is moving on the road for more than four months. PMC and BBMP should exercise better quality control to ensure better serviceability and durability.
  2. On Kodigehalli road, camber provided is not uniform. The committee recognises that maintaining nearly designed camber for full length of road should be achievable because profile correction is already done and further correction is possible by fixing the channels in case of fixed form pavers or by sensors in case of slip form pavers. This aspect shows that PMC and senior engineers of BBMP need to exercise better quality control.
  3. On road 8th cross from Yeshwanthpur circle, Weep holes in the RCC drains are not provided at GSB level. Present weep holes are at random. PMC and BBMP should ensure correct weep hole locations otherwise moisture induced damage will take place.
    1. In RCC box drains, reinforcement bars are not placed as per design. Cover to reinforcement bars is inadequate, cover blocks are not used.
    2. In the ORR via Hebbal flyover, about 8 to 1 panels were found with corner cracks. In some joints, chipping of edges is observed.

Headed by retired PWD Chief Engineer RR Doddihal, the committee however acknowledges that it was a partial probe. “There are several hidden items which are not susceptible to measurement or inspection. The committee cannot offer any views on such items.”

The per kilometre cost of white topping roads is Rs 12 crore

  1.  White top road – 20% (about Rs 2.4 crore)
  2. Footpaths and ducts – 30% (about Rs 3.6 crore)
  3. New utilities, street lights and miscellaneous – 50% (about Rs 6 crore)

The per kilometre cost of tenderSURE project stands at Rs 9.25 crore

  1.  Bitumen road work – 27% (Rs 2.50 crore)
  2.  Footpaths and drains – 36% (Rs 3.33 crore)
  3. Utilities and others – 37% (Rs 3.42 crore)

The Committee also found that BBMP did not follow any guidelines while selecting roads for the white topping and tenderSURE works. “Any road cannot be taken up for white topping as they are costly and subsequent digging of the road even for most essential purpose will not be possible,” the report said, suggesting to follow a scientific method for selecting roads.

What the Committee thinks of Concrete and Asphalt roads?

  1. Asphalt road can be constructed quickly but are prone to damage by rain. Asphalt road requires overlays at every 3 to 5 years.
  2. Concrete roads take longer time to construct, are costlier by about 25% to 40% but life is more around 20 years. Lifecycle cost of concrete road will be 45% to 60% of asphalt roads.
  3. Occurrence of potholes is almost eliminated in white top roads which is a major advantage.
  4. Major limitation of a concrete road is the road way should compulsorily be free of utilities. The utilities may be under footpaths and buffer zones.
  5. Whitetop roads have low maintenance cost, are resistant to ageing and have better reflectivity leading to higher safety.
  6. During the 14 days curing period, managing the high urban traffic on the subject road is herculean task for city police.

“Considering all aspects, white topping shall be preferred on certain types of roads and black topping shall be preferred on certain types of roads. Thus the selection of roads for black and white topping assumes importance,” the four-member committee concludes.

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