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Costly concrete - Price tag for road surface switch deterrent, says Shaw

Published:Tuesday | May 30, 2017 | 12:00 AM

WHILE NOTING the poorly conditioned roadways islandwide and the durable merits of concrete, the comparatively hefty cost for an initial concrete outlay is a major deciding factor, according to Stephen Shaw, manager of communication and customer services at the National Works Agency (NWA).

Shaw alluded to the laying of pipelines, sewer lines and telecommunication systems as integral areas to be given consideration before opting for concrete.

“Our position is that there is a place for both concrete roads and those made from asphalt. Based on studies done elsewhere, there is some indication that concrete roads, given certain variables being constant, last longer than those where the finish is not,” Shaw told The Gleaner.

Fern Gully in St Ann was one such road referenced by Shaw as having few blemishes as a result of its concrete composition.


“Depending on which side of the debate you come down on, concrete tends to cost more than twice that of asphalt. Our approach, therefore, is that we look at the particular situation, and based on certain factors such as location, nature of the road and cost, a decision is taken as to how to approach same.”

Since the start of the year, a sum of $500 million has been allocated for the rehabilitation of 47 kilometres of road structures in the parishes of Trelawny, Clarendon and Manchester.

Additionally, $167 million was included in the 2017-18 Estimates of Expenditure for the rehabilitation of approximately 57 kilometres of roadway in Westmoreland.

Shaw expressed his satisfaction with the quality, standards and subsequent road checks carried out by NWA personnel.

“There are standards for all materials used in the construction sector. Standards for making and installation/laying of same. As far as we are concerned, those standards are generally met. Contractually, our role in the main is to carry out quality assurance checks. These are done routinely as part of our responsibility having let a contract."