So it has been still?

Department of Roads (DoR) has said lack of “in-depth study” of the soil conditions before the construction of roads, widening activities, and heavy rainfall were among the causes leading to numerous roadblocks in the country.

Washing away of roads during monsoon is one thing, bad roads in the cities is quite a different thing altogether. How do we explain this? Bad roads bring risks to everyone.

As we are told, “study process” is looked at as time consuming and, therefore, is comfortably done away with. An inside man from DoR has come on record to tell us that the east-west highway widening project, for example, didn’t conduct study and there are only a few who do it.

Recently, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay visited the damaged road that connects the four gewogs of Serzhong, Chuzargang, Tareythang, and Umling. There is a need to do some fixing the way we look at projects like this.

Terrain is not a problem. Stupendous projects have been successful in the most difficult places. What seems to be the problem is how lightly we look at our development initiatives. The way we award contracts, for example, could be changed. The focus should be on quality.

The finance ministry approves millions of ngultrums for the maintenance of the roads every year. Are we using this resource judiciously? If planning is rigid, products will be dependable. That’s not been happening.

Keeping a tab on the progress of the road construction in the country is important. But what we must consider is that building or striving for the quality is more important. For a country like ours, good road condition is sensible development base than anything else.

There is a need to strengthen monitoring system. If contractors and builder of roads can do whatever they like, road quality will continue to suffer. Probably because we do not have robust quality control measures, we have more contractors than is necessary.

Being concerned that certain stretch of road is important and it was damaged because of improper drainages along the road is not enough. Redoing project because of poor quality work is a waste of time and resources.

It is time we looked at more efficient and dependable ways of awarding construction projects. At the core of the idea should be stringent monitoring system. All else could fail otherwise.

1 reply
  1. irfan
    irfan says:

    I agree to the post totally and yet, I would like to add a few thoughts.

    The contractors alone don’t decide the engineering methods and technology to be implemented for a small road project. The recommended standards and designs are already fixed and even available as development manuals on many occasions. So, one usually can’t think something different unless the DoR wants to do things differently. That involves the department’s engineering team, experts and consultants.

    I have seen sands coming from the same river banks feel different to observe without much technology involved in the testing when you consider two different seasons, before monsoon and after the monsoon is over and we are into the dry moths. And when we mention concrete mixture, both sand and those stone chips play equally important part as the cement in use.

    Even when it comes to the stones or the rocks, they either come from the river sides or the mountains or they arrive from typically dry stone queries. What confuses me a bit here is that… we are not always very concerned with the quality or physical characteristics of the sand and the stone chips as compared to the quality of the cement. Now, that’s in my personal opinion only.

    Even if it’s just black topping involved, both sands and stones get used when the road under construction is getting levelled. Our machinery in use at the construction site are all with good off road capabilities including the tyre choices even if we are constructing roads for on road traffic only. But all these are only some layman’s observations. Probably the nation demands the road infrastructure for the economy, and still… I can’t say what a democracy demands.

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