A road could be defined as a strip of land that provide routes for travel by automobiles and other wheeled vehicles. Roads within towns and cities are variously called crescents, avenues, drives, streets etc.
The importance of roads, as vital lifelines, cannot be over emphasized as farmers use them to carry their valuable products to the market. Trucks and vans transport manufactured products from one location to another. In effect, roads carry automobiles, buses, bicycles, keke-na-peps etc., on business or pleasure trips. It is, therefore, not surprising when a Chinese adage succinctly postulates that “if you want to be rich, build roads first”. It also paves the way to progress.
From historical perspective, the development of roads had metamorphosed from the Egyptian Carthaginian age to the Romans who were regarded as the great road builders. For, their chariots riding roads, commenced the earliest cement technology. It was long lasting, especially their enviable Appian ways. They were straight and panning over hills, instead of cutting around them. The Appian ways were known to slope slightly from the center towards both sides, to drain off any possible stubborn water. They were, no doubt durable but difficult and most expensive to construct.
However, from the early 1800’s till date, the Macadam road technology came on board. It has metamorphosed into our current bitumen technology with the advent of petroleum products.
Since then, our road engineers are required to take dire process in the construction and reconstruction of modern roads. They include, among others, drawing up of detailed road maps, grading with heavy machines and paving to its required thickness, using stronger materials than the earlier used earth underneath.
From existing road budgets, the cost of construction of roads is astronomical and time consuming. Above all, it is centered on the initial ulterior motives. Is it based on political, social, welfare or just developmental purposes?
Having religiously fulfilled above basic vital pre-requisites, we must delve into sincere regular maintenance culture, as was in the good old days of Public Works Department (PWD). For, without controversy, any man made product, is destined to wear and tear, with time. Our tarred roads are no exception. Furthermore our engineers should avoid cutting shortcuts, dishonesty, and incompetence. But, should be given a free hand under close supervision. The most important aspect of it all is the production and implementation of the initial road maps to the core. It would include adequate culverts, ditches and pictographs as were introduced in the 1970’s. The installation of solar street lights should be an added advantage. It is with nostalgia, that the most recent second Niger Bridge is already a comatose. –Courtesy of Isuikwato Voice Newspaper.
Soapy, oily, chemical, water are not friendly with tarred roads. Hence, the proper need to construct culverts, ditches at their proper locations. All manholes, potholes should be adequately covered at all times. The tarred roads should overlap the corresponding side gutters to enable any water to run off. Many concerned citizens advocate the total elimination of soft shoulders beside the tarred roads. For they are known to be prone to uncontrollable erosion, that eventually encroach on the main tarred road.
Frankly speaking, all tarred roads must have free water flowing gutters on both sides, all year round. There should be regular scooping of the gutters and carting away the mounds. The pedestrian roads, usually shoulder side, should follow proper procedure for optimal result. Or else, they would collapse. If the roads are properly constructed under approved specification, lives will be protected.
Praise God, the current Hon. Minister of works Chief Dr. Dave Umahi has advocated for the use of cement technology on our modern day highways. He should be encouraged and supported.
Elder Okay Ugwa JP
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