Freeman Cebu Business

The good, the bad and the ugly

Back Seat Driver - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The Good:  After many, many years of complaining by motorists, the public works department finally agreed to do road repairs during summer.  In the past, we’ve had to deal with monstrous traffic jams caused by, sometimes unnecessary, road repairs done during the school season.  It was bad enough that a lot of families were driving three or more vehicles at one time as daddy had to go to work, mommy had to go to work and the family driver had to bring the kids to school.  Having to cram all three vehicles in a single-lane because road repairs closed off two of the once three-lane road, made traffic horrendously unbearable.  Thank goodness somebody from the road works department had common sense for breakfast and started implementing road repairs during the summer season.

They’ve also decided to replace asphalt with concrete to allow for a flatter and sturdy road surface.  We all know that the bonding agent of asphalt tends to soften during extremely hot temperatures.  Being a tropical country, we experience extremely hot temperatures for several months in a year.  This, plus really heavy trailer trucks cause our asphalt roads to warp.  The switch to concrete roads is pretty much a better solution in terms of durability and lifespan.

The Bad:  The public works department was so eager to please everyone with their newfound strategy that they actually went ahead and tried to do so.  Everywhere you go.  Every city you go to has stretches and stretches of road repair projects.  And these road concreting projects are done in major thoroughfares with heavy traffic volume.  Unlike asphalt roads that can be driven on immediately after it is paved, concrete roads have to cure for a few weeks before it can be opened up for public use.  Instead of motorists getting a break from the usual traffic brought by the school season, we’re all stuck in the same crawling traffic due to kilometers upon kilometers of lanes that will be closed for weeks or, worse, months. 

It would have been ideal for them to do simultaneous work if they had the equipment and manpower needed for the job.  Unfortunately, they have barely one set of equipment per site.  And some sites need more than one set to complete the job.

The Ugly:  Converting the road surface from asphalt to concrete may be the most cost-effective solution for the public works department. But that’s not the case for us motorists.  Concrete surfaces are actually very abrasive compared to asphalt surfaces. This would translate to higher tire wear and shorter tire life.  Despite their abrasive surface, concrete roads are not porous and tend to keep water on the surface longer than asphalt. This means, a lot of standing water during the rainy season which increases the chance of vehicles aquaplaning.  Balding tires and aquaplaning are not the best combination to promote road safety.

And if  what is happening in our neck of the woods will happen to these newly paved roads, we can expect further road closures as the other public utility companies are also busy carving up newly finished concrete roads to lay water pipes and cables. Why they did not coordinate with the public works department and do this at the same time they were concreting the roads, I would leave that to you to speculate. 

One thing’s for certain, logic and common sense is a rare commodity in the public works and utility department.  And that’s the ugly truth.  [email protected]











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