Most Nigerian roads across the country are in bad shape. Their deterioration often begins with the origin of cracks or pot holes on the road pavements either at the edges or along the drive way. And the problem of bad roads in the country has become an embarrassing stigma. Causing several havoc such as fatal accidents to commuters.
So, in this post, we shall be taking a look at what road maintenance is and the critical functions required to maintain Nigerian roads.
What is Road Maintenance?
Road maintenance are activities executed to keep roads in a usable and safe condition as the situation permits. It is the routine prevention and correction of normal damage and deterioration from use to keep roads in usable condition.
Why is Road Maintenance Important?
Well-maintained roads reduce the cost of operating vehicles by providing good running surface. Proper maintenance also keeps the roads open and ensures greater regularity, punctuality and safety of transport services.
Postponing road maintenance results in high direct and indirect costs. If road defects are repaired promptly, the cost is usually modest. But if defects are neglected, an entire road section may fail completely, requiring full reconstruction at three times or more the cost, on average, of maintenance costs.
Delayed maintenance has indirect costs as well. Neglected roads steadily become more difficult to use, resulting in increased vehicle operating costs (more frequent repairs, more fuel use) and a reluctance by transport operators to use the roads.
Roads are among the most important public assets in many countries. Road improvements bring immediate and sometimes dramatic benefits to road users through improved access to hospitals, schools, and markets; improved comfort, speed, and safety; and lower vehicle operating costs.
Road Maintenance in Nigeria: 4 Critical Functions Required for Maintaining Nigerian Roads
How can Nigerian roads be kept in usable conditions? Below are 4 critical functions for keeping roads in a usable condition.
Sun, heat and vehicle loads can break down roads, but the biggest enemy of a road is water. When water gets underneath the pavement, the road becomes weaker and, as vehicles uses the road, the weakened parts of the pavement start pumping up and down and a pothole is born.
Surface maintenance helps to protect our roads from water seepage; crews routinely patch or seal cracks and damaged areas. This also helps to prolong the life of the road to avoid costly resurfacing or reconstruction.
Drainage maintenance consist of keeping ditch, culvert and other drainage structure, clean and ready to carry next flow of water. Sediments deposited during period of heavy flow must be removed, also badly eroded channel and dikes properly protected to prevent recurrence.
Properly designed and constructed drainage systems require minimal maintenance and repair after the first few years following installation. However, it is important that a new subsurface drainage system be carefully inspected and maintained for the first two or three years.
Any weak spots that have developed in the lateral and main drains and any backfilled areas that have settled can be remedied and filled in. There is some ongoing maintenance to complete every year but this should be minimal for most systems.
Shoulder is a necessary part of all roads. It serves as a lateral support to the highway pavement protecting the surface from the intrusion of water, one of the great destroyers of our highways.
Shoulder maintenance must be done on a regular basis to provide adequate transverse drainage and yet at slopes flat enough to be safe for vehicular traffic.
Bridge maintenance is a major part of road maintenance. It consists of cleaning every exposed steel work by sand blasting flame or other means followed by repainting; cleaning and resealing the deck joint that may be extruded or become filled with dirt.
Repairing and strengthening the damaged guard rail caused by out of control vehicle; resurfacing every rough bridge deck. And remedial measures to correct serious scour around and under piers and abutments.
Prompt and adequate road maintenance is important. Once surface deterioration or destruction has started, it can proceed very rapidly. Postponing highway maintenance can result in several havoc such as fatal accidents to commuters.
The goal of maintenance is to preserve the asset, not to upgrade it. Unlike major road works, maintenance must be done regularly. Road maintenance comprises of activities to keep pavement, shoulders, slopes, drainage facilities and all other structures and property within the road margins as near as possible to their as-constructed or renewed condition.
And by carrying out the above 4 critical functions of road maintenance, several havoc [such as fatal accidents] to commuters will be prevented.
What other critical functions of highway maintenance do you know?
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