Why the frequent road maintenance? | Inquirer Opinion
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Why the frequent road maintenance?

/ 11:00 PM August 30, 2013

President Benigno Aquino should ban the use of asphalt overlay on concrete or cemented roads in Metro Manila and other cities.

Asphalt overlay is no different from the “gravel and sand” road projects of enterprising provincial politicians.

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In the first place, there is nothing wrong with our quality cemented roads. They’re durable and last for a number of years—so why put asphalt on them? City roads are unlike highways where asphalt is needed to increase road resistance for high-speeding vehicles.

Secondly, asphalt overlays require expensive, frequent maintenance. Poor-quality asphalt overlays vanish after a few days of continuous rains. Furthermore, they turn wave-like or  baku-bako  after a few months. So the cash-starved asphalt gang scrapes anew the road to put a new overlay. Asphalt could be used in far-flung countryside roads where the locals have yet to feel the wonders of macadamization.

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Thirdly, asphalt overlay is used as cover for poor-quality cemented roads by budget-challenged contractors to evade the warranty clause. Many concerned citizens complain why many concrete roads are excavated and replaced when these are still in good condition. The culprit is asphalt overlay. As one infrastructure watchdog commented, the public works agency needs sensors to penetrate the layers of asphalt overlay and to determine the conditions of our concrete roads.

Frankly, I look forward to another six years of “tuwid na daan.” But I don’t know if I will still make it. Every time I drive through the traffic-clogged Metro Manila roads,my blood pressure rises  and I fear a stroke. I see superthick asphalt overlay in Abad Santos Avenue, Manila—due to repetitious application!

In Claro M. Recto, Manila, if you don’t watch out—you might hit protruding utility manhole covers—adjusted to planned asphalt overlay. Expect Roxas Boulevard to go into another round of maintenance—asphalt overlay at the Baclaran side has badly deteriorated.

In Dr. A Santos Avenue, Parañaque, near Naia 1, maintenance is frequent.

Along Burgos Street, Manila, fronting the old Congress, potholes occur after every long rain. If you look closer at the potholes, you will see a sturdy cement road built 25-30 years ago!

The asphalt overlay gang is all set to cover Mindanao Avenue and the expansive Commonwealth Avenue. Another waste!

For some time, I have been wondering why no lawmaker from Batasan has asked: Why put asphalt when there is nothing wrong with our cemented roads? Driving along Sucat Road the other day, I saw a billboard—asphalt overlay is another project of Rep. Edwin Olivarez!

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Asphalt companies are making tons of money and will experience good business in the years ahead with the unnecessary asphalt overlay projects. Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares should check their books if they are paying the right taxes.

Years back, engineer Bayani Fernando had the shortest stint as public works secretary under the Arroyo regime due to complaints from politicians and contractors that he was too strict.

President Aquino should bring someone of Fernando’s mold who can say no to politicians and their favorite contractors. Or he should recruit patriotic civil servants who will stop this wastage in road maintenance, and direct the use of scarce resources in areas where needed.

—BILLY SORIANO,

[email protected]

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TAGS: Construction, Road maintenance, Road Project
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