A 'concrete solution' to bad roads - Young
Concrete has been touted as the most practical solution to the deteriorating roadways islandwide, by Desmond Young, civil engineer and a past president of the Jamaica Institution of Engineers.
In noting that approximately $600 million is spent by the Government each year on road repairs, Young declared that the current adverse conditions that most roads were experiencing required a rigid pavement solution.
He told The Gleaner: "Even with the lack of drainage, torrential and continuous rainfall, concrete road would be a much better solution. It would provide lower maintenance and a much longer pavement life. Also, the lifecycle cost would be much less, and the difference in cost is more than justified with the repeated expenditure for repairs, loss in productivity, disruption of commerce, transportation delays, and overall cost to the economy for major repairs."
Young referenced Fern Gully, Bog Walk gorge, Mountain View Avenue, and most recently, the entrance road to Riverton as locations reaping the benefits of concrete road implementation.
"To date, there have been no reported issues of maintenance or damage. This type of solution is required immediately for our most vulnerable roads and those that have been repaired repeatedly. Patching roads and fixing potholes with concrete is also a more sustainable solution."
Though not able to directly comment on the quality control measures carried out by personnel from the National Work Agency (NWA), Young stated that the team comprises knowledgeable and experienced individuals.
In 2011, it was documented that Jamaica had approximately 22,000 kilometres (km) of roads, of which 15,000km is paved. This placed Jamaica at 106 in the world in relation to length of road network.
Young added: "With the extensive road network, the frequency of repairs, and the frequency of events, the technical team at the NWA must be overwhelmed. I am sure it must be extremely difficult to keep up with providing inspections, before, during, and after implementation."