Bad road dividers in rats, negligence in use of bitumen


Maintenance work of Dhaka-Chittagong highway is not being done properly. Potholes were seen at many places on the road. Weeds on road dividers are not being cleared regularly. The road divider is at risk due to rats.

In addition, due to the closure of the drainage drains, the rainwater continues to drain from the road divider to the pavement for a long time during the monsoon season. The pavement of the road is damaged. The use of bitumen has been shown to be careless.

To ensure the full utility and sustainability of the Dhaka-Chittagong highway, economic development and safe communication system, the government has undertaken the project ‘Performance Based Operation and Strengthening of Daudkandi-Chittagong section of four-lane elevated Dhaka-Chittagong National Highway for four years’. This picture has emerged in the detailed inspection report published by the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Department (IMED) of the Ministry of Planning.

The actual progress and quality of the work has been reviewed by intensive monitoring procedures, on-site inspection and observation of the project area and all project-related data has been collected and verified. The reports were prepared by collecting and analyzing data through field level beneficiary interviews, key person interviews and local level workshops.

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IMED Secretary Abul Kashem. Mohiuddin told Jago News, ‘We have closely inspected some ongoing projects. It showed poor progress in some projects. Some projects are not progressing due to various reasons. Some of the projects have again seen errors or deviations during construction. One of them is the ‘Performance Based Operation and Strengthening of Daudkandi-Chittagong Section of Four Lane Elevated Dhaka-Chittagong National Highway for four years’ project. The renovation of the project has seen mismanagement of some works. That matter is in our close monitoring report. Our recommendations will be given to the concerned departments and ministries for the proper implementation of the project, so that there are no more gaps in the project and it is implemented properly. If the project is implemented properly, the sustainability of the four lanes will increase further.’

“There has been some mismanagement in the renovation of the project. That matter is in our intensive monitoring report. Our recommendation will be given to the relevant departments and ministries for the proper implementation of the project, so that there are no more gaps in the project and it is properly implemented.’-Abul Kashem Md. Mohiuddin, Secretary, IMED

According to the IMED report, the significant works under the project are road embankment earthwork, tack coat, wearing course, road marking, rut correction by milling machine, traffic sign, footover bridge etc. No sign board was seen near the goods at the base camp of the project. Lack of lighting at night in the under-construction areas of the project area. Crucial to the project work is the bitumen, which is exposed and many of the bitumen drums are cut-faced – which is not expected. Besides, the machine used in the lab is not calibrated, there is no register etc. at the site.

However, the quality of the materials used in the project is being tested. Polymer modified bitumen used in pavement is being used following proper process. Chainage of previously used pavement has cracks at various places including km 73+700 to 73+850. Necessary measures should be taken to re-repair the area where these cracks or cracks appear. Weeds were seen on road divides in both the project packages. Besides, rat holes were seen in the road divider. As a result, the water drains for a long time during the rainy season, which is very harmful for the pavement.

Bad road dividers in rats, negligence in use of bitumen

The report further revealed that proper curing is not being done or is not possible while the project is in progress, according to officials of the implementing agency. Because it is a very important road on which high carrying capacity vehicles ply. Even though there is a rule of curing for three to four hours after bitumen work, curing is not possible due to very important roads. The safety dress of the workers engaged in the project was not seen. Employees are advised to take necessary measures to use proper health protection equipment. Critical to the project is the thickness of the pavement wearing course. The thickness of the warping course at various places was measured by core cutting and found to be correct. No warning signboards were found at the project work site during inspection.

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The IMED report revealed that hairline cracks have re-appeared in repaired areas of the road’s betwuring course, drains to drain the road divide are filled with soil – which needs to be repaired. Apart from this, there is a problem in public movement due to lack of required number of sign signals and lighting system at the project site at night. Various registers are not being maintained at the project site laboratory. No specific storage area has been prepared for the project material.

As per the needs of the project, the required funds are allocated and released on time. As a result, the project work is being implemented properly. Under the project, earthwork resources have been placed on unpaved roads alongside roads; Partial work progress has been seen. Polymer modified bitumen is a new topic in the project, but it is proven to be an environmentally friendly bitumen.

Besides, before taking up the project, the polymer modified bitumen used in the project was not in the list of imported goods, so more time was spent in importing the goods. After working on the bitwaring course of the project, the road has to be opened for vehicular traffic before the specified time of lane curing, which is risky for the sustainability of the work. The pavement of the project road has hairline cracks at various places which require repair or maintenance measures. The road dividers of the project can be cleared of weeds and the soil dug by rats can be removed and the drains repaired to drain the water. In case of taking up the project in the future, feasibility study should be carried out properly and Development Project Proposal (DPP) should be formulated in view of reality, so that it is possible to implement the project within the estimated cost and duration by avoiding project revisions.

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Regarding the report of IMED, Secretary of Road Transport and Highways Department ABM Amin Ullah Nuri told Jago News, ‘The report of IMED has not reached us yet. If there is negligence and carelessness in the use of bitumen in road work, we will take action. But the quality of bitumen is good. I will take the initiative to improve the bitumen conservation in the maintenance of the road. Because bitumen is important in road maintenance. Initiatives will also be taken to maintain the quality of bitumen by draining road water quickly.

‘There is a big grass in the middle of the road. Due to which the production of mice is high. I will always cut the grass and keep the road divider clean. However, mice are sometimes difficult to control. Still we have plans to take initiatives on how to drain the water under the road divider by alternative means.’- ABM Amin Ullah Noori, Secretary, Road Transport and Highways Department

The secretary said, ‘I have seen the matter before.’ There is a big grass in the middle of the road. Due to which the production of mice is high. I will always cut the grass and keep the road divider clean. However, mice are sometimes difficult to control. Still we plan to take initiative on how to drain the water under the road divider by alternative means. We will carefully fill all the gaps that IMED has found.’

Bad road dividers in rats, negligence in use of bitumen

According to the original DPP of the project, regular maintenance is required to increase the durability of the road. Accordingly, the work of the project is ongoing. After the implementation of the project the As Built Drawing of the project shall be handed over by the contractor to the Directorate of Roads and Public Ways (SOAZ). Since this is a new system, the skills of SOAZ officials need to be enhanced through training in this regard. IMED has recommended that SOAZ take necessary measures to keep this important highway operational by allocating necessary manpower, equipment and money for road maintenance and repair in the project area.

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According to the Road Transport and Highways Department, the 192.30 km road from Daudkandi to Chittagong City Gate on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway has been upgraded to a four-lane highway through a GOB-funded project. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina officially declared the opening for traffic on July 2, 2016. The highway is the lifeline of the national economy that connects the port city of Chittagong with the entire country. Regular maintenance and upkeep is required to ensure the highway’s full utility and durability for increasing goods and passenger traffic. The highway is suffering due to excessive and unauthorized heavy traffic. Performance Based Operation and Consolidation (1st) of the four-lane elevated Dhaka-Chittagong National Highway (N-1) (Daudkandi- Chittagong section) for 4 (four) years to ensure full utility and sustainability of the highway, economic development and safe communication system. Revised)’ project was adopted. The original DPP of the project was approved on September 3, 2019 for implementation from July 2019 to June 2023 at an estimated cost of Tk 793 crore 14 lakh. The first revised DPP was approved on 9 November 2023 for implementation from July 2019 to June 2025 at an estimated cost of Tk 980 crore 25 lakh. That is, compared to the original DPP, the first revised DPP increased by 187 crore 10 lakh taka or 23.59 percent.

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The main works of the project are earthworks, road rut correction works, road maintenance works and road safety works etc. Inspection of materials collected for execution of this work shows that materials used in construction are tested by third parties as per SOAZ’s technical instructions (LENE). Quality is ensured by testing in the laboratory. Project bitumen tack coat, wiring course (rut filling), rut filling by milling machine work, road marking etc. are in progress. According to the project work plan, the target of work till March 2024 is 80 percent, but the actual achievement is 72.53 percent, which is 7.47 percent less than the target and the financial target is Tk 711 crore.

MOS/MMAR/MS