THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala hopes to tread a new path as it undertakes the humongous task of rebuilding thousands of kilometres of roads ravaged in the recent floods. Top officers in the Public Works Department (PWD) told Express the cost of building roads, bridges and culverts, which were damaged, has been revised upwards to Rs 10,000 crore from the preliminary estimate of Rs 5,815 crore after the final damage analysis. For road relaying alone, the estimate cost now stands at Rs 7,000 crore.
The officers said all the new roads will be ‘designed’ ones, modelled on the Kerala State Transport Project (KSTP-1) Adoor-Kazhakoottam stretch, which is in “perfect condition” even after 15 years. Of the 3.31 lakh-km roads in Kerala, only 10 per cent belongs to PWD. The remaining, which are panchayat and municipality roads, do not have any specific design.
“Under the new plan, all rebuilt roads will be designed and last 15 years,” said a senior PWD officer.
As per the government’s Nava Keralam plan, the PWD is also planning to tap technologies. With an eye on durability, on top would be geo-textiles, soil stabilisation methods, natural rubber modified bitumen (NRMB) and reused plastic.
According to PWD, nearly 35,000 km of road surface, 5,774 km of potholes, 182 bridges/blockage (short-term), 218 bridges/blockage (long-term), 470 culverts and 255.31 km of protection walls will have to be reconstructed after the flood waters partially or completely damaged the roads and bridges.
Meanwhile, nowhere in the state capital —neither in the Finance Department nor in the Public Works Department — can anyone hear any mention of the need for a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to rebuild Kerala. Clearly, the govt believes the gigantic task ahead of it is best handled by its own departments.
35,000 km of road surface
5,774 km of potholes
182 bridges/blockage (short-term)
218 bridges/blockage long-term)
255.31 km of protection walls