‘Concrete roads to reduce infrastructural deficit crisis’
The deplorable state of roads across the country and the attendant losses to the nation was one of the high points of discussion at this year’s conference of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, even as the speakers made a case for the authorities at all levels of government to consider the use of concrete as an alternative option.
With about $1.5 billion economic loss yearly due to bad roads, the engineers at the confab themed “National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP): Strategies for Implementation” held in Akure, bemoaned the infrastructural deficit that has been the lot of the country, with a submission that infrastructural policy implementation should be taken seriously by government and her agencies.
They argued that the major issue with the Nigeria’s road infrastructure is the absence of effective and sufficient regulatory framework for effective road construction.
The reaction to the unsavoury condition of the road infrastructure in the country was ignited by the paper on “Improving Service Delivery in Transport Infrastructure: The Concrete Road Option,” presented by the Regional Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Cement Plc, Arvin Pathak, who disclosed that Nigeria records an estimated economic loss of economic of between $1 billion and $1.5 billion every year, due to poor condition of roads.
Pathak, an engineer, who presented his paper during a session on ”Transport System as a Backbone for the Actualization of NIIMP,” gave an embarrassing vivid picture of the state of Nigerian bituminous roads constructed few years ago, as opposed to concrete roads in the USA and India which have been constructed over 80 years ago and still smooth.
After giving a graphic picture of some failed bituminous roads, he said he; roads play very important part in nation’s infrastructure development. Well-designed concrete roads required little maintenance over 40 year design lives.
“Using concrete roads will result in less fuel consumption and less emissions. Small percentage reduction of life time energy use associated with road will have significant positive implications on sustainable development. Concrete roads are durable and safe. Less prone to wear and tear and low maintenance requirements is one of the principal advantages of concrete roads.”
Urging for a new policy that will accommodate the use concrete roads in the light of the defects of bituminous road and its attendant strain on the nation’s lean economy, the Dangote Cement boss, said the country free itself of frequent maintenance and overlay repeatedly increase cost and cause inconvenience to users.
According to him, the government would find out that concrete road is the way to go because of easy availability of indigenously produced cement, uncertainty about bitumen availability in future.