Why is it that our roads are all full of potholes, depressions and water logged? The answer is very simple. We just do not know how to build roads.
The present condition of our roads is a very clear testament of that. Why is it that our bitumen, be it tarmac or asphalt, does not adhere to the foundation of the road? The answer is, that either we do not have a healthy foundation, or else the mixture of the bitumen is not correct. I for one, think that all our ailments come from a very weak foundation.
Has any study been made on the increase in traffic? Has there been any study on the quality of traffic? Do the people that count at Infrastructure Malta realise that much of our traffic consists of heavy vehicles?
There are indeed a greater number of buses, trucks and concrete mixers travelling constantly on our roads. The depressions that one sees on our roads is due to the weak foundation.
Another of the ailments, which I see as very critical to a road being built properly, is that, when half of the road is resurfaced, traffic is allowed to use this section of the road. Would it not be better if the roads were resurfaced at night instead, when traffic can easily be redirected?
You may observe the types of depressions that are appearing on many of our roads.
Going through Tal-Balal road, which is being resurfaced, this road is already coughing and wheezing, as far too much traffic is passing on the sections that are ready, and quality is already suffering. No time is given for a road to be properly resurfaced.
Why is it that our roads tend to shine and become slippery enough for us to skid?
I have here so far mentioned the ailments on some of our main roads. The side streets are by far worse. First and foremost, the fact that main pipes run through the centre of the road is all wrong.
Pipes should be passed below both sides of the roads, to be exact, under both pavements, the reason being that we will avoid having the roads ploughed up every time there is some trouble in the supply to a household, be it drainage or the water supply.
One may reason that it would cost more to run a pipe under each pavement. I am sure that when one calculates the cost of the extra pipe, compared to the surface of the road remaining untouched and in no need of resurfacing, less money would be spent.
If the powers that run this country decide on keeping to the same system, then I would suggest, that they educate the people who have to fill the trenches after the works have been done. The condition of these roads is absolutely terrible, as one has to drive over several “trenches’’ which are sinking deeper and deeper into the ground.
A few words must also be said on the manholes that adorn our roads, be it the main roads and the side streets. Here again, we just get lip service, and nothing of quality. The circumference of the manhole is normally made of concrete (and not a lot of it), which tends to break up, with the consequence that the manhole sinks into the road.
Last but not least, why is it that our roads, tend to shine and become slippery enough for us to skid?
In some countries abroad, shredded rubber, and also glass are being mixed with the bitumen, in order for vehicles to get a better grip of the surface of the road.
As one can now realise, a great deal has to be done before we will have decent roads, which the government has committed itself to fix. If the ministry concerned does not improve the quality of labour, all the millions which are earmarked to be spent, will be wasted, and we will be to blame!
David Demajo is the managing director of a private company.
This is a Times of Malta print opinion piece
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