Soon or later there will be no need to tarmac roads after Ministry of Works and Transport proposed to introduce new technology to get rid of dust on gravel roads.
The new technology- Probase technology involves strengthening the gravel road base material with two chemicals namely (TX-85) the soil stabilizer, and (SH-85), the soil hardener while constructing the roads.
However, this tarmac-free technology will come at a cost of Shs35bn which ministry of Works has already put a proposal to be appropriated in the FY 2018/19 Budget.
While appearing before a parliamentary committee on Budget, Works ministry chief engineer, Samson Bagonza told MPs to embrace the new proposed technology saying it will save tax payers’ money on road construction.
“The strengthened road base will be sealed with two strong layers of stone chippings, that will compact the road, for over ten years which will rid of vehicles tires from scratching off the dust on the compacted roads,” Bagonza said.
He added that the technology is intended to seal at least 70 kilometers of gravel roads annually with low volume roads which carry an average daily traffic of not exceeding 300 vehicles with traffic loading not exceeding 1million Equivalent Standard Axles (ESAs) over the design life of 15 years.
This technology has been found effective in Kenya, Swaziland, West Africa and Malaysia among others.
Budget committee chairperson Amos Lugolobi expressed excitement on the proposed technology saying that allocation of Shs35bn is far cheaper than what Uganda National road Authority (UNRA) uses for construction and maintenance of tarmac roads.
“The cost of road construction remain very high with some roads projects going above the USD 1 million per kilometer, compared to other countries like Rwanda within the region, this is unsustainable; the cost must be brought down,” Lugolobi said.
Lilian Nakate, chairperson on physical infrastructure committee also urged other MPs to support the technology saying that, “gravel is a natural resource that is getting depleted and becoming expensive, besides it is short lived as it being washed off the road during the rainy season.”
Some MPs however, expressed reservation on the proposed technology saying a lot of due diligence and research needs to be conducted before it is introduced.
“I am not convinced by the proposed technology, how will it be applied to swampy areas? It could be a waste of tax payers’ money,” Rubanda West MP Eng. Denis Sabiiti said.