Parts of the 45-kilometre highway from Elenga to Dhanbari in Kalihati upazila of Tangail at different areas are getting damaged and collapsing before the completion of the upgradation and repairing works due to the use of low-quality bitumen.
Like this highway, the country’s road network gets damaged a lot sooner than the expected longevity period due to the use of poor construction materials, especially low-quality bitumen.Experts and sector insiders have blamed the use of imported low-quality bitumen for the lack of durability of the country’s road network.
The sustainability and durability of roads depend on the use of quality bitumen as bitumen is considered the main ingredient for paved road construction.
But most of the roads get damaged or dilapidated in Bangladesh just 6 to 12 months into their construction, causing suffering to commuters and waste of public money.
It is alleged that a group of importers have been importing low-quality bitumen and supplying it to the constructors for road construction work.
According to Roads and Highway Department (RHD), the 45-kilometre road from Elenga to Dhanbari Road has been upgraded from 18 feet to 30 feet at a cost of Tk 2.98 billion.
Wahid Construction who got the job of the highway is carrying out the repairing works that started in January 2019 and will be completed in June next year.Locals alleged that both sides of the highway are breaking down as the contracting farm is upgrading and repairing the highway using substandard materials including low-quality imported bitumen by convincing a section of dishonest officials. There were conditions that three feet of soil on both sides should be shouldered while the guide wall will have to build at the risky places of the road using quality construction materials to make the highway sustainable and long-lasting.
Project Manager Hafiz Uddin said the works of the road is underway with bitumen imported from Dubai by Atlas Company.
The incidents of road collapse are also occurring as shouldering of three feet on both sides of the road is not possible due to lack of soil.
“After the completion of the road work, the shoulder will be made on both sides after arranging the soil,” he said.
The construction work of the highway is almost finished but the carpeting works are yet to be completed in some places due to new bridges.
However, the constructed road collapsed in most of the places soon after the construction and repair due to the use of low-quality bitumen and other sub-stranded materials.
A mixture of stones and sand is being dumped at the places of collapsed roads but the locals complained that the repairing would not last long.
Abul Miah, a resident of Kalihati bus stand area, said a big hole was created near the bridge of the area soon after completion of the work and the hole was then filled up with a mixture of stones and sand.
He said there are canals on both sides of the road. If the guide wall was built there, the road might not have been damaged. It was also learnt that there is no shoulder on both sides of the highway from Elenga to Madhupur while the roads have collapsed in 30 to 40 places.
Tangail’s Roads and Highways Department Deputy-Assistant Engineer Md Nasim said the work on the road is not complete yet. The contracting firm will renovate the area where the road collapsed due to lack of shouldering on both sides.
“The contracting farm will also oversee the roads for three years after completion of the renovation work,” said Nasim, who is supervising the road repairing from near Bhangra Union Parishad road to Containment Mor of Ghatail upazila.
RHD’s deputy-assistant engineer Ashraful Islam, who is supervising officer of the repairing of the highway from Elenga to Bhangra, said the work is underway and will be completed only after giving another layer.”
The contracting farm has been repeatedly asked to make shoulders on both sides of the road using quality materials before handing over the work, he added.