Brace yourself for more chaos on the roadsSTAFF REPORTEROCTOBER 04, 2017 21:43 IST SHARE ARTICLE - 1 - - - - - PRINT - A A A Biggest white topping project to date set to begin in second week of OctoberIn tune with the State government's move towards ...
Biggest white topping project to date set to begin in second week of October
In tune with the State government's move towards white topping roads, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has approved tenders for white topping 29 roads and six major junctions totalling to a length of 93.47 km at a cost of ₹723.71 crore. For motorists, this will be mean smooth roads, but citizens remain sceptical given the deteriorating condition of roads every monsoon.
Work is expected to begin in the second week of October simultaneously on multiple roads, and add to the traffic chaos across the city.
“BBMP has set a one-year deadline for completion of works on the 29 roads. We have split the work and given tenders to two firms so that the project starts simultaneously and is finished on time,” said K.T. Nagaraj, Chief Engineer, Projects, BBMP.
All roads will be provided with service ducts on either side for optic fibre cables and power cables. However, sewage and water lines will not be shifted, sources said.
White-topping is an overlay of Portland cement concrete layer over the existing asphalt layer on the road. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and City Development Minister K.J. George are passionate votaries of the technology. Recently, Mr. Siddaramaiah had said that he would like to see roads in the city to be white-topped.
For now, however, sections on major roads like Outer Ring Road, Mysuru Road, Brigade Road, Hosur Road, Bannerghatta Road, Sarjapur Road and Tumakuru Road will be revamped.
This will be the biggest white-topping project in the city to date.
Bengaluru City Traffic Police, who have given their go-ahead for the works, said that though the project will disrupt traffic in the short run, white topping of roads is better since it provides a pothole-free ride, once completed. “We cannot block the roads. Work will be taken up on one lane while traffic will be allowed on the opposite lane,” said R. Hitendra, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic). He added that they would like the BBMP to press more paver machines into action to speed up the process.
By Ashwini M Sripad | Express News Service | Published: 02nd October 2017 04:38 AM |
Last Updated: 02nd October 2017 07:21 AM | A+A A- |
BENGALURU: When conceptualised, TenderSURE roads were termed as world class. The recent heavy rains have, however, exposed their poor quality as well as the tall claims of the officials concerned. Sunday night’s rain left the TenderSURE roads waterlogged in the city yet again, with people wondering if the crores of rupees spent on them literally went down the drain!“It was difficult to commute on the water-logged Cunningham Road on Sunday night. Water was gushing on to the street through manholes and drains, and an unbearable stink made matters worse,” said Arun Jha, a resident of R T Nagar.
According to traffic expert Prof M N Sreehari, TenderSURE roads are world class only in terms of the money spent. The quality of the roads is as bad as normal asphalted roads. “On all TenderSURE roads, footpaths have been made wider without conducting any pedestrian user survey. The paver blocks on the footpath have been laid unscientifically. These are laid on the top layer of the footpath. The ground below them is not properly layered, which results in an uneven top layer and gaps in between the blocks. Whenever it rains, water percolates through them, leading to water stagnation and damaged road surface,’’ he said.
Many of the TenderSURE roads built in the first phase have sewer lines beneath them, including Richmond Road, Residency Road and Cunningham Road. “At times, if there are clogged drains, we end up digging the roads to clear the blockage,’’ said an official.
BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad agreed. “Ideally for TenderSURE roads, all the utility should be shifted to one side of the road. But in the first phase, BWSSB did not shift sewer lines on some of the roads. This is one of the reasons for flooding,’’ he said. However, he was quick to add that the problem has been rectified in the works undertaken during subsequent phases. Another reason for water clogging is the sweeping practices. “Pourakarmikas often push dust and waste towards gratings on the road surface that have been put to let rainwater into the drain. This results in clogging,’’ an official said.
However, K T Nagaraj, BBMP Chief (Projects), maintained there is no problem with TenderSURE roads and they are indeed world class. Flooding, Nagaraj claimed, is because of heavy rains. The gratings have small outlets for the rainwater to enter the drains. “If there is more water and smaller outlets, water will obviously flow slowly. On TenderSURE roads, water does not clog for more than three hours,’’ he added.
Of the proposed 45 TenderSURE roads, nine are complete. Works on another three will be finished soon. Tenders will be called for 13 more roads under phase II. The cost of these roads was around `7.5 crore per km, including shifting of utilities, wider footpath and bitumen-mixed black-topping. BBMP officials boast of 25 to 30 years durability of these roads.
Paving a runway requires highly skilled workforce and the right material.. Not anybody can supply the Asphalt mixture as per specification.. the high impact of the Jets onto the runway requires careful preparation of the surface.. Hope MACL chooses their suppliers correctly .
Airport new runway construction to begin in two months ( already delayed per original plan) The project to develop the new runway of the Maldives’ main airport will be underway over the next couple of months, announced Maldives Airports Company Ltd (MACL) on Tuesday.
Speaking at a press conference held at MACL’s main office, the company’s Managing Director Adil Moosa proclaimed that 70 percent of the land reclamation required for Velana International Airport (VIA)’s new runway has been completed with other preparations already ongoing. He stated that the runway development will commence during the first quarter of this year from the southern end of the island. The project to develop VIA’s new runway was awarded to Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG) of China. BUCG had appointed United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s dredging firm Gulf Cobla as its subcontractor which commenced land reclamation for the runway last July 25. MACL had earlier estimated that reclamation will add around 30 percent or 62 hectares of land to the airport. Officials of MACL and BUCG presented the project’s progress to reporters on Tuesday. According to BUCG, several equipment required to commence runway development will be brought to the Maldives within this month, some of which have already arrived. The USD 373 million (MVR 5.7 billion) project, funded by a loan from the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of China, aims to establish a new runway measuring 3,400 metres in length and 60 metres in width which can accommodate the largest airplanes such as Airbus A380. The project includes development of a new cargo terminal with a capacity of 120,000 tonnes and a fuel farm with a storage of 45 million litres. MACL also assured that relocation of the current seaplane terminal at the airport will commence soon, as the sand to reclaim land for the new runway is being excavated from the lagoon of the current seaplane terminal. Moreover, MD Adil said that the project to develop an airline complex with additional gates is also underway. Construction of the complex’s steel framework has already begun while installation is scheduled for coming February. VIA’s new runway is part of the government’s USD 800 million (MVR 12.3 billion) project to develop and expand the main airport. The project also features development of a new international terminal.
Work on white-topping of roads is set to begin and around 30 roads stretching 93.47 km will be white-topped in two phases. The tender process for the project, which has been divided into two packages, has been completed.
The first package has been handed over to NCC which involves six roads and six circles. The second package involves 24 roads and the contract has been handed over to Madhukan. The companies have been given 11 months to complete the project.
“Roads will be white-topped on the lines of Nrupathunga Road. Work will start by October,” said Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) commissioner N Manjunath Prasad.
He also said the stretch along Mysuru Road-Sumanahalli Junction-Goraguntepalya-BEL Circle-Hebbal-KR Puram will be taken up soon since the traffic here is heavy. “We are trying to reduce the inconvenience caused to motorists as much as possible and hence we have instructed the contractors to complete the project within six months,” said Prasad.
“We need to completely bar vehicular movement during the project. We will create alternative routes during this period in consultation with the traffic police,” said K T Nagaraj, BBMP chief engineer, (projects).
He also said work will be taken up according to the availability of the paver machines which are used for white-topping.
Around six circles are being white-topped in the project. The circle near Ramakrishna Ashram, Lalbagh West, North and East gates, near Siddapura Teacher’s College and Bhashyam Circle will be white-topped. A total of Rs 21.24 crore is being spent on this. “These works come under Package 1,” said Nagaraj.
White-topping, or concretisation, gives roads a life of up to 25 years and results in fuel savings of 14%. The Centre for Smart Cities (CSC) Research had recommended that white-topping helps in reducing traffic and increasing the lifespan of the road. The state government has allotted Rs 2,000-3,000 crore under the Nagarothana scheme for this project. Source- Deccan Herald
In another three years, a Kenyan travelling from Mombasa to Nairobi will have at least four major options Kenya has chosen to build a brand new road between Mombasa and Nairobi instead of expanding the existing highway in what will leave consumers spoilt for choice Transport CS James Macharia said the deal had not been signed and that several other companies could be allowed to bid Kenya has chosen to build a brand new road between Mombasa and Nairobi instead of expanding the existing highway in what will leave consumers spoilt for choice.
The Sunday Standard has established that instead of turning the current road into an expressway, the government decided to construct a completely new road to run side by side with the existing one. ALSO READ: Kenya Railways threatens top managers of RVR This means that in another three years, a Kenyan travelling from Mombasa to Nairobi will have at least four major options. One may choose the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) passenger train that takes about five hours or take a flight and land in the coastal town in an hour. If he wants to travel by road, he will have two roads to pick from. If in a hurry, and would like to drive at speeds of 120 kilometers per hour, he will take the expressway whose contract was handed to an American firm, Bechtel, three days to the General Election in a deal described as a ‘thank you gift’ to the Americans.
This will not just be the most comfortable drive given how smooth the road would be, it will just take him three and-a-half hours. But this will not be without a cost. He will have to part with some unspecified amount of money in toll fees to enjoy the road. If he does not want to pay or is not in a hurry, he will still have the current road at his disposal, which will be available but only for smaller vehicles. The current road will also have been downgraded to stop trucks and big buses from using it. Shelved proposal It will also mean that the government will buy land afresh, in a similar fashion as it did before it build the SGR, in what could provide land cartels with another round of minting millions from government projects. The initial proposal, which was shelved in favour of the current deal, involved expansion of the existing highway to four lanes between the Machakos Turnoff to Mariakani. ALSO READ: Kenya Railways threatens top managers of RVR It has also emerged that the contractor building the controversial expressway will be allowed to ‘sell’ it to another private contractor, who will charge users toll fees to recoup the billions sunk in the project.
“Under the Exim Bank financing model, the government has the opportunity to privatise or securitise the individual sections of the expressway that could reduce the total borrowing requirements,” Engineer Peter Mundinia, the director general of the Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) said in a statement. The authority, however, refused to comment on the cost of the project. A source familiar with the project says the government will pass the road to private investors, who have the experience to monetise the road. “Private investors will buy the road and charge toll fees in line with the initial Public Private Partnership (PPP) model after it is constructed.
This must not wait until it is fully built but it can start with the sections as they get completed,” a source said in an interview. This will make the multi-billion road the first ‘private road’ in the region. Kenha has contradicted the Ministry of Transport which had denied claims that the contract had been signed. In a press release this week, Kenha said the commercial contract for the project was signed on August 5. Reacting to an earlier story by the Standard, Transport CS James Macharia said the deal had not been signed and that several other companies could be allowed to bid. ALSO READ: Kenya’s Sh300b ‘thank you gift’ road project to US sparks tender wars But Kenha, which handed the project to the American firm without a competitive process, says the development is under its mandate. Available estimates show that the project will cost about Sh300 billion, before the cost of buying the land is factored in.
Kenha says its economic projections show that there is an infrastructural symbiotic relationship between the SGR and the new road as it offers connectivity for people, business and communities along the road. “Once completed, the expressway will play a critical role in improving Kenya’s transportation logistics and trade competitiveness while supporting the spatial and industrial development along the corridor,” Mundinia said. Kenha has defended the decision to opt for the construction of a new road on grounds that it is distinct from the PPP alternative given that it offers a new alignment designed as a high speed six-lane expressway of higher capacity and safety standards.
“The expressway project will include highway capacity through construction of the greater Nairobi-Southern Bypass which has been planned for several years, thereby contributing to decongestion of the fast-growing Nairobi Metropolitan Area,” Mundinia said. But as details of the deal become available, it is emerging that the mega project has stark similarities to the SGR contract handed to a Chinese company in the run-up to the 2013 General Election. Both the contracts of the SGR and the expressway project were signed shortly before the elections. The firms constructing them are the ones tasked with determining the costs of the projects. Worse, both have been single-sourced and were entered in the cover of government-to-government contracts, in deals that reduce the level of public disclosure and scrutiny that open tenders go through. The biggest concern for sources familiar with government financing is that both of these projects are now going to be financed largely from borrowing at a time when the government is exhausting its headroom to stock up any additional debt.
Kenya Railways set to operate old line It has emerged that top officials of the PPP directorate were caught unawares after the government made an about turn on the project and decided to build a new road instead. A working paper from insiders at the Treasury and the Ministry of Transport seen by this paper raised sharp questions on why the project had to be announced in a rush, three days before the elections, and why it was not competitively done. The deal has also brought back the American government on the front row seat of firms that have bagged big infrastructure projects after being elbowed out by Chinese companies.
A brief by the State Department of Infrastructure as it sought concurrence to proceed with the project says Kenya will borrow funds from American lenders (US Exim Bank and OPIC) and then sign an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract to build the road on a single source basis. The brief queries why a previous model financed by the World Bank was abandoned and how it was determined that the single sourcing approach would offer taxpayers better value for money and would be faster than a PPP. “Although the proposal is being referred to as ‘alternative project concept’ or ‘highway development concept,’ it is simply a non-competitive, single source procurement of an EPC contractor who is able to bring financing with it,” the brief notes. Engineer George Kiiru, the head of PPP at Kenha, told the Sunday Standard that the government changed its focus from a PPP to EPC because it will be delivered faster as compared to PPP. Shorter period
“Achieving commercial and financial close for PPP contracts can take two to three years thereby delaying the start of construction and completion of the project,” Kiiru said. “A comparative analysis between a PPP model for a 20-30 year concession shows cumulative repayments under the PPP approach would be higher compared to the alternative approach with ECA (US Exim/OPIC) support,” Kiiru said. The brief from the State Department of Infrastructure, however, intimates that there is no reason to suggest that the construction will take longer under the PPP arrangement. “Indeed, there are strong arguments that overall construction period may be shorter under the PPP project as it splits construction between three different EPC contractors. In any event, the constraining factor is always likely to be land acquisition, so it would be a mistake to assume that the Betchel proposal can deliver construction completion more quickly,” the brief notes. Kenha says the government is yet to determine the exact cost of the project and is waiting for a complete detailed design, which is yet to be undertaken, before it can determine the actual cost. Kenha also refused to give a cost range that the project is expected to fall in on grounds that it did not want to speculate despite the fact that costs are the first considerations in deciding if a project is viable or not. Costs per kilometre “This project is a government to government initiative. The US Government nominated Betchel International to work with the implementing Agencies in Kenya to develop the project,” Kiiru said. In 2015, Kenha says, the governments of Kenya and the US signed a memorandum of understanding for development of priority infrastructure projects supporting Kenya’s Vision 2030. Kenya later held discussions with the US government for development of the highway. The US, through the US Exim Bank, has provided a letter of support to Betchel for the Nairobi–Mombasa Expressway under a proposed government to government agreement.
“The US Exim Bank has shown interest to finance the project together with other US Export Credit Agencies such as the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC),” Kenha said in its response. The brief says Betchel’s construction costs per kilometer are higher than estimates presented to the ministry by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on construction costs for the PPP approach of Sh600 million per kilometre versus Sh500 million per kilometre ($6 million Vs $5 million). “The per kilometre costs under the PPP proposal includes all taxes and duties while Betchel’s proposal assumes complete tax exemption for the project (corporate tax, income tax and import duties) which could reasonably be assumed to cost the government an additional Sh100 million per kilometre,” the brief notes. It goes on to argue that as part of the American firm’s proposal, an advance payment of Sh30 billion and also a payment of Sh10 billion as ‘establishment fee’ will be required. “So Betchel will be Sh40 billion in funds and highly cash positive before the start of the project whereby the government will be paying interest on this sum from day one as this will be drawn immediately by Betchel at contract signing,” the brief notes. There is also a further Sh6 billion of design management fees. The proposal from the American firm excluded all relevant taxes.
Read more at: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001255435/billion-shilling-u-turn-that-will-cruise-you-to-coast-in-three-hours