Build roads that last longer

Time to change our old mindset of road designing

Concrete roads are better than the bitumen-constructed roads in terms of safe transportation. Most developed countries of the world construct their roads with a mix of cement, sand and stone chips called concrete. They are stronger, water-resistant and low in maintenance cost. In those countries all city roads and highways are built with concrete. But in Bangladesh most of the roads of the country are constructed with bitumen, low quality sand and brick-chips, and this is the main reason behind the poor lifespan of our roads. As the longevity of these roads constructed with Bitumen are very low, government and the authorities concerned should start using concrete in road-construction for better duration.

As in Bangladesh most of the roads are constructed with Bitumen in Bangladesh, these roads get damaged within one year of their construction. Rainwater penetrates the upper crust and damages the road below. Even our neighbouring country, India no more uses bitumen in road-construction. One bright spot in Indian highway development was the policy decision taken by government to reduce dependency on Bitumen, the popular raw material for road construction, in favour of cement (concrete) for all new road projects since 2014. The decision was taken in consideration of the fact that concrete roads are seen to be more durable and thus have brought down the cost of road maintenance significantly. This decision also paved the way for exploring new technologies for faster construction of cement concrete roads, where precast concrete technology takes priority within available options.

Therefore, considering the importance of constructing roads with concrete, the government should construct and repair the country’s roads and highways in a planned way. We urge the roads and highway authorities to devise immediate actions to construct the roads and highways using concrete through public private partnership. Also for the protection of roads and highways proper drainage system should be constructed.

It is high time to change our old mindset of road designing and construction. Our engineers should design and plan for sustainable and environment friendly roads so that these don’t get damaged before their expected lifespan.