2,100km roads in need of repair
Although the Roads and Highways Department continued to improve its roads across the country, around 2,100km -- 10.36 percent of all surveyed roads -- are still in "poor, bad or very bad" condition, says an RHD survey.
Experts and engineers said overloading, lack of budgetary allocation for timely maintenance, and poor construction materials are the major reasons behind the poor conditions.
Around Tk 6,295 crore would be required in the next fiscal year for repairing roads, bridges and culverts, according to the Maintenance and Rehabilitation Needs Report 2022-23.
However, the RHD is going to get Tk 3,500 crore – only half the allocation needed -- in the next fiscal year for maintenance.
According to the department, there are 22,428km of national and regional highways and district roads under its jurisdiction across the country.
The Highway Development and Maintenance of the RHD carries out the survey every year to project the total maintenance costs for its road network.
It also conducts the survey to prioritise the roads for maintenance, as it does not get enough allocation.
The latest was conducted between November 2021 and March this year.
According to the report, released on Tuesday on the RHD website, 20,072km (89.50 percent) of roads were surveyed this year, excluding those roads under rehabilitation or reconstruction work.
The survey found 1,128km of road (5.62 percent) in poor condition, 493km (2.46 percent) in bad condition and 457km (2.28 percent) in very bad condition.
The remaining 89.64 percent were found in "good" or "fair" condition.
The department classified the roads in five categories on the basis of their roughness, said an RHD engineer.
Once a road is classified as "very bad", it needs immediate attention. While a "bad" road also needs attention, without which it would turn into a very bad one next year, he said.
If anyone travels on a "poor road", they would take a relatively longer time to reach their destination and be less comfortable during travel, he added.
The previous survey in June last year found some 3,005.72km (16.26 percent) of roads in "poor, bad or very bad" condition.
Transport expert Prof Hadiuzzaman said the RHD conducts the survey once in a year. "But such surveys should be done at least four times a year and the roads should be repaired immediately on the basis of the report."
He added, "Delays in detecting poor roads will increase maintenance cost."
Terming overloading of vehicles a major cause behind the damage of roads, he said the authorities should execute the relevant laws strictly.
RHD Chief Engineer AKM Manir Hossain Pathan said if the ongoing development projects are completed within two three years, they hope to turn 98 percent of the roads into good to fair condition.