Showing posts with label MC3000. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MC3000. Show all posts

September 22, 2017

Elevated road to avoid local traffic


The cost of the entire project has been estimated at ₹1,800 crore, a NHAI official said.

GURGAON Updated: Sep 20, 2017 21:57 IST
Dhananjay Jha
The elevated road will start from Gurgaon-Delhi border and end near the Basai railway overbridge in Sector 100.
The elevated road will start from Gurgaon-Delhi border and end near the Basai railway overbridge in Sector 100. (HT File)
In what could spell major relief to city commuters and homebuyers living sectors 80 to 115 along the Dwarka Expressway, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is all set to construct a 10km elevated road. The tenders for the project were floated on Monday.
The elevated road will start from Gurgaon-Delhi border and end near the Basai railway overbridge in Sector 100. The cost of the entire project has been estimated at ₹1,800 crore, a NHAI official said.
Dinesh Yadav, general manager, NHAI, said, “The Dwarka Expressway will be executed in phases. In the first phase, tenders have been floated for the 10km road which will be elevated. The purpose of the elevated road is to separate local traffic from the expressway’s long distance traffic.”
In October 2016, the NHAI took over the Northern Peripheral Road, which is also known as the Dwarka Expressway, from the Haryana government and named it NH 248-B.
The NPR’s custodian authority earlier was the Haryana Urban Development Authority for 18-km portion in Gurgaon between Delhi border and Kherki Daula toll plaza. After NHAI took over it, the length was extended up to near Shiv Murti, Mahipalpur.
Before the NHAI took it over, the Huda had completed the 16.5km portion in Gurgaon and also an RoB on Delhi-Rewari railway track at Basai.
“We have been waiting for the completion of the Dwarka Expressway as the delay has adversely affected other development work in new sectors. We hope the NHAI will complete the expressway and bring us relief. I believe tens of thousands of homebuyers like me are waiting for the completion of their dream homes,” said Prakhar Sahay, a homebuyer.
“This is an important development as it will provide easy access to various sectors and help bridge the connectivity gap along the NPR,” said Pankaj Bansal, Director, M3M Group.
Ravish Kapoor, Director of Elan Group, also hailed the development and called the project “an engine to boost growth in new Gurgaon” by improving better connectivity to the expressway.
The NHAI has been constructing underpasses at Hero Honda Chowk, Rajiv Chowk, Signature Tower and Iffco Chowk. The highways authority constructed a flyover at Hero Honda Chowk and construction is underway for the two elevated U-turns at Iffco Chowk while another U-turn underpass is proposed on the highway near Ambience mall.

September 21, 2017

Tender Sytesm Vs Cops




Systemic delay in repairing roads.Systemic delay in repairing roads.


HYDERABAD: The long-drawn tender process followed by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) for relaying dug-up roads should either be done away with completely or streamlined to put the city's road infrastructure back on track, feel traffic cops.

Pointing out that currently it takes at least six months to complete just the tender process for restoration of dug up roads, which the city just cannot afford, traffic cops said there are several instances of road stretches being dug up repeatedly and not being re-surfaced, leaving behind un-motorable roads as the civic body's tender process takes its own sweet time.

As per the current system, when an agency seeks permission from GHMC for road digging, cost of required restoration work has to be submitted by the agency to the civic body before taking up the work. However, the tender process for restoring roads starts only after digging is completed.

"While it not possible to refuse permission for any development work, in most cases the contractor just dumps mud or loose gravel on the stretches. It is the gap between the completion of work and the actual filling of the road that results in traffic woes. We have suggested that the procedural fulfilling of tender be done away with and the road be filled immediately after the work is done," said AV Ranganath, deputy commissioner of police, traffic (Hyderabad II).


In fact, Malkajgiri, Anandbagh, Banjara Hills (Road No 5), Ayyappa Society , Secunderabad, LB Nagar, Bowenpally , Madhavpuri Hills, Chandanagar, PJR Enclave, KPHB and Sultan bazaar are examples of areas where such dug up road stretches have become a never-ending nightmare.


"The Maharani Jhansi Road from Putlibowli Chowrasta to Afzalganj has been in a poor condition for the past two ye ars. Only surgical repair work by pouring bitumen is done after the frequent digging work," complained resident Balasubramanyam Perugu.

TOP COMMENT

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Chandramohan Singh, a resident of Marredpally , said, "The road from Reliance Fresh super market to the check post in West Marredpally was repaired about six months back but is back to its potholed self. Even the road near Lions Hospital, which was dug up for laying drainage pipes, has not been restored."


While GHMC authorities admitted the tender process takes at least two months, they said that in the case of Malkajgiri the delays stretched to nearly a year because the payment was completed only recently by Water Board, which has taken up pipeline laying work. "Once the work is completed, estimates are drawn up and sent for sanction. Then a tender is called for and a contractor is decided. The process requires at least two months.While dealing with other departments we can't press for payment beforehand," said M Shanker, deputy chief engineer, maintenance, GHMC.

Source- Times of India

September 13, 2017

Tender wars in Africa

SUMMARY The expressway will be one of the most important infrastructure project in the East African Community The Project has been structured to achieve early completion, under a fast-track delivery model, with concurrent design and construction Kenya’s Sh300 billion ‘thank you gift’ road project handed to an American firm on a silver platter has sparked a fresh tender war among implementing agencies.


As attention of country was focused on the August 8, General Election, a small team of government officials were holed in meetings to dot the i’s and cross the t’s on what is set to be the single largest road project in Kenya. The team, largely drawn from the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) and the Ministry of Transport, had already sent the project draft to the Attorney General’s office for comments and clearance.

Three days before Kenyans lined up to vote, the final signature was put on paper, handing over the lucrative contract to build the 473-kilometer high-speed expressway between Nairobi and Mombasa to a US firm, Bechtel International Inc. Unlike previous announcements of government projects of such scale, there was no press conference from the Ministry of Transport to break the news.

There was also no announcement from State House. Instead, government officials chose to make the announcement at lunch time on Saturday when everyone was training eyes on the political rallies, as the pessimists rushed to the shopping malls to stock pile food and other home supplies in case of  political stalemate. It also not clear why the announcement had to be done in such a hurry and on a day when most government offices were closed. Chinese company The press release sent to media houses at 1.30pm did not have the most important details of the project; the cost.

But as details of the deal start to become available, it is emerging that the mega project has stark similarities to the controversial Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) contract which was handed to a Chinese company in another sweet heart deal in the run up to the 2013 general election.

The Financial Standard has come across some working papers from insiders at the Treasury and the Ministry of Transport that raise sharp questions on why the project had to be announced in a rush and why it was not competitively done. The brief raises a question as to why the American firm was not allowed to compete with others for the tender if at all it was the cheapest in the market. Government insiders are referring to the project a ‘thank you gift’ to America, given in the spirit of reciprocity, for some unspecified support the US government has extended to Kenya.

Both the contracts of the SGR and the Expressway project were signed shortly before the general elections. The firms constructing them are the ones tasked with determining project costs. 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 in both cases, these projects are now going to be financed largely from borrowing, coming at a time when the government is exhausting its headroom to stock up any additional debt. Treasury is understood to be concerned that despite having so much debt that it is struggling to repay for the big projects already underway, it will be required to take a commercial loan to finance land acquisition.
The other concern is whether the road is the most important project at this time given that it is coming to compete with the railway even before the dividends of the rail start being felt. Infrastructure projects 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 through Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)) and then sign an Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contract to build the road on a single source basis - where the engineering and construction contractor will carry out the detailed engineering design of the project, procure all the equipment and materials necessary, and then construct to deliver a functioning facility or asset to their clients.

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 Public Private Partnership (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 Financial Standard that the government changed its focus from a PPP to EPC because it will be delivered faster as compared to PPP. “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 explained. “A comparative analysis between a PPP model for a 20-30 year concession shows that 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 suggests 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 Bechtel 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 of the project on grounds that it did not want to speculate. This is despite the fact that costs are the first considerations in deciding whether or not a project is viable. “This project is a government to government initiative. The US Government nominated Bechtel International to work with the implementing agencies in Kenya to develop the project,” Kiiru reckoned. KeNHA explained that in 2015, 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 American government through the US Exim Bank has provided a letter of support to Bechtel for the 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. He said that the Nairobi–Mombasa Expressway will be constructed as a Toll Road, and upon completion, the Government will procure and assign private firms to operate and maintain the highway. Part of the tolled fee shall be applied towards repayment of ECA Loans. KeNHA says a feasibility study has been completed and it shows that the project is viable.

“The expressway will be designed for consistent speeds of 120kph, hence reduce travel time from Nairobi to Mombasa from the current 10 hours, to about four hours.” A source at Treasury who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the plan was to get a private party to finance, build and operate the road for a 30-year period as per a feasibility study financed through a World Bank loan. He revealed that the feasibility study had concluded that the PPP route offered better value for money than the traditional EPC procurement approach. “There is little chance that a contract not competitively procured will be cheaper than an international competitive tender,” noted the source at Treasury who understands government funding procedures. The source seemed to agree with part of the State Department of Infrastructure brief that suggests that Kenyans may not get value for money from a non-competitive process. The brief says Bechtel’s construction costs per kilometer are higher than estimates presented to the Ministry by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Bechtel’s costing proposal is estimated at Sh600 million per kilometer compared to Sh500 million per kilometer estimate given by PWC ($6 million Vs $5 million). “The per kilometer costs under the PPP proposal includes all taxes and duties while Bechtel’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 of Kenya an additional $1 million (Sh100 million) per kilometer,” the brief notes. It argues that as part of the American firm’s proposal, an advance payment of $300 million (Sh30 billion) and also a payment of $100 million (Sh10 billion) as ‘establishment fee’ will be required. “So Bechtel will be given $400 million  (Sh40 billion) in funds and highly cash positive before the start of the project whereby the Government of Kenya will be paying interest on this sum from day one as this will be drawn immediately by Bechtel at contract signing,” the brief notes. There is also a further $60 million (Sh6 billion) of design management fees. The proposal from the American firm excluded all relevant taxes. The Government is pushing for the deal on grounds that the US firm is one of the biggest construction companies in America and that this should give Kenyans comfort. Since the firm will also be seeking financing on its own, it also takes away the initial headache of having to source for financing. But what the government is not saying is that Kenyans will eventually pay a premium price for it in one way or another. Bechtel is also not free from controversies in overseas countries where it has operated. For example, it is fighting some bribery allegations in a Saudi Arabia family feud, which is now in court.

There were other allegations on using middlemen named in British courts to win a contract in Abu Dhabi to build a petrochemicals plant. A former vice president of the firm was also sentenced to 42 months in prison for accepting Sh520 million in kickbacks to manipulate the competitive bidding process for the State run power contracts in Egypt. The other point of conflict is the sharing of risk. It is understood that the American contractor allocates itself the time and materials risk but passes on the price, quantity and overrun risks to the Kenyan taxpayer. The project was expected to start by June 2010 but sources say the National Treasury delayed the project because it needed to allow contractors time to carry out due diligence of the project in order to transfer price and quantity risks to the contractors. Unit rates Bechtel contract is based on Unit Rates for elements of work based on historical cost and production data. This exposes the taxpayer to contingent liabilities because unit rates become firm when the design is completed. Though no one is willing to share the estimated costs of the project, the State Department of Infrastructure brief suggests that the contract price will be at least $2.5 billion (over Sh250 billion). The brief says 80 per cent of the contract costs – quantities and prices - are not fixed and this may see the additional costs spill over to the taxpayer Given the other costs associated to the project like getting land, the price of the project could further go up after the design is completed.

A source at Treasury says the project will cost just as much as the SGR, whose contract price was Sh327 billion but other costs such as land compensation and finance costs have pushed it up to near Sh500 billion. “If indeed, Bechtel is cheaper, then they can still tender under the proposed PPP project model and seek for financing themselves from OPIC or Exim Bank at their preferred cheaper rates,” the brief reads. The brief had advised that the proposed method of developing the road under the Bechtel Proposal is not the best to the government, and asked KeNHA not to proceed, instead use the procurement process under the PPP arrangement, where Bechtel would be advised to participate alongside others. This advice was howver overruled.

Read more at: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/business/article/2001254309/kenya-s-sh300b-thank-you-gift-road-project-to-us-sparks-tender-wars

September 8, 2017

Project Delays

Chennai: The much-awaited Maduravoyal-Port elevated corridor taken up by National Highways Authority in 2007 is likely to be delayed further as it is finding it difficult in identifying consultants, said a state official.

The state and the Centre are responsible for the delay in the project till 2015. The project cost is expected to escalate by at least 15 per cent, the official said.

Five years after suspending ongoing work on the elevated road connecting Chennai Port with Maduravoyal, the state government softened its stand and gave its willingness to allow the project to proceed with certain changes in the alignment along Cooum river, but now the project is pending with NHAI.

According to the National Highways Authority of India sources, the original project cost was about Rs 1,815 crore and the delay means an additional expense of at least Rs 100 crore extra from the original plan.

The state government in 2016 suggested a design change for the elevated corridor on the Cooum river bed from two pillar to single pillar to ensure smooth flow of water beneath. Subsequently union minister for road transport and highways Pon Radhakrishnan conducted field inspections and reviewed the project.

From the date to now there is not much progress in the project, said the state official adding that departments like state highways and Chennai Port are waiting for the early completion of the project as it would decongest a good whole part of Central Chennai and western suburbs, the official noted.

“The Maduravoyal project should have been completed at least four years ago. Both the State and Centre has been ducking over the project thus exposing their incapability to complete a road work.

Chennaiites are suffering traffic snarls and the highways and the corporation has failed big time to address the traffic woes,” said former Chennai mayor M. Subramanian.

Efforts to contact NHAI senior officials for the delay in the project proved futile, but NHAI sources maintained that a re-tender has been floated to identify a new consultant to work on the design change and also exit ramps that would come up along the 19 kilometre project.

Source -Deccan chronicle

September 7, 2017

What Keeps u Moving ?

Event-driven projects 'shielding Mena economies'

DUBAI, 21 hours, 28 minutes ago

The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region has undergone an enormous change over the past two decades, with unprecedented growth in economies and construction markets as countries in the region leveraged booming oil prices to invest in infrastructure and transform their cities into modern metropolises, according to an industry expert.

But over-reliance on oil revenues has caused government spending (and consequently growth) to fall as the oil price dropped, leaving the countries of the region seeking to reprioritise spending towards diversifying their economies and funding social investment, said Mace, an international consultancy and construction company.

Despite a rebound in GCC contract awards in H1 2017 of 14 per cent from a four-year low in 2016, results are still down 20 per cent from the same time last year, showing a challenging market, stated Mace's Mena cost consultancy business in its H2 tender cost report.

This competitive pricing environment has led to relatively stable tender price inflation across the region, ranging from 0.4 per cent in Kuwait to 2.5 per cent in Saudi Arabia, it said.

Event-driven projects and relatively diversified economies have proven a saving grace against this difficult backdrop, as has continued government investment in infrastructure and energy projects across the region, it added.

"Continuing the trend from 2016, the first half of 2017 has been competitive for the Mena construction market due to the low oil prices resulting in restricted government spending across the region," remarked Fergus Rossiter, the director of Mace Cost Consultancy (Mena).
"However, as the work for upcoming major events starts to ramp up, notably Expo 2020 in the UAE and the Fifa Football World Cup in Qatar, we are starting to see an increase in tender prices, which is further fuelled by recent increases in material prices, such as reinforcement steel," he noted
"We are yet to see the full impact of the current blockade has on the construction industry in Qatar, particularly as it relies heavily upon a large quantity of materials being imported from Saudi Arabia and the UAE,” he added.

Across the region tender prices have remained relatively stable, however there are considerable variations to be observed within the markets: some regions are reporting a softening in prices, while others experience some capacity constraints which are pushing them up.

Overall, the pricing environment remains very competitive with tender price inflation ranging from only 0.4 per cent to 2.5 per cent for 2017; client organisations are likely to continue to push to get the best possible prices, said Mace in its report.

Lower global commodity prices and increased competition for fewer privately and government financed projects is filtering through to increasingly competitive pricing in many markets, and despite there being plenty of work to fill order books, contractor and consultant prospects are vulnerable to tender periods taking longer to conclude, if at all, especially given recent government spending cutbacks due to the low oil price, it stated.

Contractors on key infrastructure or event-driven projects are less likely to be impacted by this, given the critical nature of these projects to the region’s ongoing economic diversification, however for the mainstream construction market, the competitive environment along with few capacity constraints in labour or materials and low commodity prices are all adding up to clients pressing for lower costs, it added.

According to Mace, factors such as the introduction of VAT across the region from 2018, as well as other taxes which may be levied as governments seek to consolidate their finances, are likely to put upward pressure on tender prices as contractors factor in these additional costs.

This effect will be particularly strongly felt in Saudi Arabia, with the highest tender price inflation at 2.5 per cent reflecting rising costs from newly imposed taxes and removal of subsidies for water and electricity, amongst others, as the Kingdom seeks to consolidate its finances.

Qatar is also expected to see some inflation in tender prices to reflect the greater materials cost risk, as new tenders force contractors to contractually bear the brunt of the costs of the blockade on the country, said the report.

Egypt is not considered in the Meed tender price index, but can be expected to see significant tender price inflation this year of at least 5 per cent, due to both the relatively hot construction market and the massive currency depreciation over the past year.

However some countries are faring better than others, with the UAE and Qatar boosted by their event-driven projects and relatively diversified economies, whilst Saudi Arabia and Oman struggle with reduced oil revenues, said the report by Mace.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE remain the biggest markets for construction projects, with the emirates looking likely to overtake the kingdom as the biggest next year, as their construction industry outperforms, stated the industry expert.

When considered with the completion dates edging closer for key event-driven projects such as the World Cup in Qatar, or the Expo 2020 in Dubai, strong demand-driven factors will counteract some of the damage from reduced government spending to the industry.

Locations less impacted by low oil prices are expected to outperform, with Dubai and Bahrain looking to beat Abu Dhabi or Kuwait. In addition, significant investment in port, road, railway and airport infrastructure across the region continues, with for example $37 billion worth of road projects being pursued across the GCC, it added.-
TradeArabia News Service

September 6, 2017

Road Projects

Contractors finalised for a number of road projects in FS 
MARK STEENBOK 
15:22 (GMT+2) Tue, 05 Sep 2017
Contractors finalised for a number of road projects in FS  | News Article
The Free State Department of Police, Roads, and Transport says there are a number of roads in the province that still need to be fixed.

MEC Sam Mashinini today said that these roads, including the one between Odendaalsrus and Wesselsbron, are not covered in the current financial year and needs attention. He added that since the end of July the department has finalised tenders for successful contractors for a number of road projects in the province. The handover site meetings for, among others, the Kroonstad-Steynsrus, Vredefort-Hoopstad, Vredefort-Viljoenskroon and Bothaville-Viljoenskroon roads commenced yesterday. He says the department needs to maintain these roads once it is completed.
“One of the problems that I am currently giving attention to, is how best do we make sure that the roads in the province are maintained over the long term. I have deliberately asked the different stakeholders to say how,  once the road between Bothaville and Viljoenskroon is completed, we can maintain it. That road is economically viable in terms of the farms there. That road is mostly used and that’s why we are targeting it,” says Mashinini.
He adds that the department’s objective is to build capacity by investing in human resources through skills development. He says the department wants to create a sustainable economic climate in the province and to deliver public infrastructure by using labour intensive technology.
He says from 2008 until last year they have had an intake of 173 contractors of which 83 graduated. In total 78 is still active and engaged in projects in the province.

July 11, 2017

ONLY 10 percent of the surfaced (tarred) national road network is in good condition, with 30 percent in poor condition while 57 percent is in fair condition, a senior Government official has said.

About 3 percent of the road network has been unclassified, 1 percent of gravel and earth roads were certified to be in good condition, 22 percent was in fair condition, 72 percent was said to be in poor condition while five percent was unclassified at this stage.

In response to this situation, Government has initiated a number of road rehabilitation projects, including building new ones. Some of the road rehabilitation projects initiated through the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development include. . .

Tenders will be awarded on a Build Operate Transfer (BOT) basis for the Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls, Harare-Nyamapanda and Rutenga-Boli-Sango roads before the end of this year.

Currently, feasibility studies and detailed engineering designs are underway for the Beitbridge-Bulawayo road and should be completed by August this year, after which tenders will be floated.

Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Dr Jorum Gumbo said Government had made significant investment into the road network and more funds would be channelled towards infrastructure. The minister said about $300 million had so far been channelled into infrastructure development, including road rehabilitation.

"Some $13,28 million was spent on rehabilitation and maintenance of road infrastructure in 2015 and $11,44 million in 2016. At the same time, rehabilitation of the Plumtree-Mutare road was done from 2012 to 2016 at a cost of $206 million," said Dr Gumbo.

"In the aviation sector, the major investment has been upgrading of Victoria Falls Airport in the last three years to December 2016, at a cost of about $150 million. There was also some money spent on rehabilitation of the runway at Harare International Airport," he said.


All the road works were funded by the Zimbabwe National Road Authority and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

"There has been no private financing of transport infrastructure development since the New Limpopo Bridge in 1994 and Beitbridge-Bulawayo Railway (BBR) in 1998.

"The Plumtree-Mutare project was financed through a loan obtained by ZINARA from DBSA (of South Africa). Victoria Falls Airport was financed by a loan to Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe from China," said Dr Gumbo.

Minister Gumbo said the National Railways of Zimbabwe also carried out some rehabilitation work on the national railway network.

The condition of the country's road network had deteriorated since the last condition survey in 2010. At that time, 20 percent of the national road network was assessed to be in good condition, 30 percent in fair condition and 50 percent in poor condition. Ongoing road projects include the dualisation of Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway, including the Harare Ring Road.

"The construction team has started arriving from China, and construction is expected to start in September this year," he said.

"We are also going to construct Phase 2 of the Harare International Airport Road. The late commencement has been due to delays in carrying out the required feasibility study. Again this will be done and project implementation will commence before the end of the year." the Minister added.

More funds, especially foreign direct investment, could have been channelled towards road projects, among other infrastructure development projects, but lack of appropriate and adequate legislation governing Public Private Partnerships was a hindrance.

"However, we now have the Joint Venture Act, and we trust that from now on we will be able to attract significant levels of FDI in transport infrastructure development," the Minister added.

Source - Bulawayo

February 17, 2017

Bitumen in Road Construction

Bitumen is used in road construction due to various properties and advantages it has over other pavement construction materials. Advantages of bitumen for road construction is discussed.

Why is Bitumen Used in Road Construction?

Bitumen gain certain unique properties that are inbuilt in it during its manufacture. The bitumen as a raw material in flexible road construction and bitumen as a mix (composing other materials i.e. aggregates/ pozzolans) serves certain advantages, that prompt to use bitumen widely in road construction.


Use of Bitumen in Flexible Road Construction

The reason behind the significant application of bitumen in flexible pavements are explained below:

1. Production of Bitumen is economical

Bitumen is a by-product of crude oil distillation process. Crude oil itself is a composition of hydrocarbons. The primary products that are available are the petrol, diesel, high octane fuels and gasoline.
When these fuels are refined from the crude oil, the bitumen is left behind. Further treatment of by-product, to make it free from impurities give pure bitumen.
As the primary product demand is of utmost importance to the society, the bitumen as a by product has survival for long. This by product is utilized as a new construction material, without going for any other new resource.

2. Physical and Rheological Properties of Bitumen bring Versatility

The physical and the chemical properties of Bitumen are found to be a function of load level, temperature and the duration of loading. It is a thermoplastic and viscoelastic material.
These dependencies make us to truly access the traffic on the road so that a bitumen mix properties can be varied based on the stress levels calculated. This versatility of bitumen results in a large variety of bitumen mix, based on the road application.

3. The Melting Point of Bitumen is low

It is highly appreciable about the fact that bitumen has a favorable melting point, that helps in both surface dressing and wearing resistance with ease.
The melting point of the bitumen should not be too high, that it can be melted easily during laying the pavement. At the same time, bitumen has a melting point, which would not let the already casted road pave to melt and deform under high temperatures.
In areas of high temperatures, along with this quality of bitumen, the aggregate composition helps to cover up the effect of large temperature.

4. Bitumen can undergo Recycling

As the melting point of bitumen is favorable, it can be melted back to its original state. This is called as asphalt recycling process.
The torn-up asphalt pieces are taken up to the recycling plant, instead of sending them to landfills. This recycled mix can be reused. If necessary, the old bitumen is mixed with new bitumen and new aggregates to make the mix live again.

5. Bitumen gain Adhesive Nature

As explained in the production of bitumen, it is free from hydrocarbon and hence not toxic. The by product is refined to maximum to get rid of organic materials and impurities.
The bitumen has a highly adhesive nature, which keeps the materials in the road mix bind together under strong bonds. These become stronger when the mix is set i.e. ready for vehicle movement.

6. Bitumen has Color Variety

The traditional bitumen is black in color. This is because the dense organic material within bitumen is black in color. Now, when certain pigments are added to bitumen, the color of our choice can be obtained. These are colored bitumen.
It is costly than the normal colored bitumen. The disadvantage of colored bitumen is that it requires more chemical additives and materials.

Requirements of Bitumen Mixes for Road Construction

An overall bitumen mix is used in the construction of flexible pavement to serve the following needs.
  • Structural Strength
  • Surface Drainage
  • Surface Friction

Structural Strength of Bituminous Pavements

The figure below shows a typical cross section of flexible pavement, that was developed in the USA. The structural bitumen layer composes of:
  • Bituminous surface or wearing course
  • Bituminous binder course
  • Bituminous base course
The primary purpose of these bitumen mixes is structural strength provision. This involves even load dispersion throughout the layers of the pavement. The loads involved are dynamic or static loads, which is transferred to the base subgrade through the aggregate course.
A granular base with a bituminous surface course is only provided for roads of low traffic. It is just sufficient and economical.
The rebounding effect of bitumen upper layers helps in having resistance against high dynamic effect due to the heavy traffic. Rebounding property is reflected by the stiffness and the flexibility characteristics of the bitumen top layers. When looking from bottom to top, the flexibility characteristics should increase.
Studies have shown that the above mentioned characteristics of aggregates are attained using densely graded bitumen mixes. This mix should make use of nominal maximum size aggregate (NMAS), that must decrease from the base course- binder course – surface course.
The nominal maximum size aggregate (NMAS) = One sieve larger than first sieve-to retain more than 10% of combined aggregate.
There is a higher amount of bitumen content in the wearing course, that make the layer more flexible. This would help in increasing the durability.

Surface Drainage of Bituminous Pavements

Subsurface drainage can be facilitated using granular sub base in the construction of flexible pavement. Permeable asphalt treated base (PATB) can be used to provided positive surface drainage in major highways. This would behave as a separate course for facilitating subsurface drainage.

Surface Friction of Bituminous Roads

It is essential for the pavement layer to provide enough skid resistance and friction, during vehicle passage, especially in wet condition. This would ensure the safety of the passengers. The macro and the micro surface texture of the asphalt mix contributes towards the surface friction.

The mix gradation i.e. open graded or dense graded will contribute to macro surface texture. The open graded mix have higher macro surface than dense graded. The water is squeezed out from the bottom of vehicle tire when the high macro surface texture is implemented.
The micro surface texture is contributed by the aggregate surface, that is exposed when the above bitumen layer is torn.

Advantages of Bituminous Road Construction Over Concrete Pavements

1. A smooth Ride Surface

It does not make use of any joints; Hence provide a smooth surface to ride. It also gives less sound emission when compared with concrete pavements. The wear and tear are less in the bituminous pavement, thus maintaining the smoothness.

2. Gradual Failure

The deformation and the failure in the bituminous pavement is a gradual process. The concrete pavement shows brittle failures.

3. Quick Repair

They have an option to be repaired to be quick. They don’t consume time in reverting the path for traffic; as they set fast.

4. Staged Construction

This helps in carrying out staged construction in a situation when problems of fund constraint or traffic estimation problems are faced.

5. Life Cost is Less

The initial cost and overall maintenance cost of bituminous pavement are less compared to concrete pavement.

6. Temperature Resistant

They act resistant against high temperature from melting and are not affected by de-icing materials.

Disadvantages of Bituminous Pavement

  1. Bituminous pavements are less durable
  2. Low tensile strength compared to concrete pavement
  3. Extreme weather and improper weather conditions tend to make bituminous pavement slick and soft.
  4. Bitumen with impurities can cause pollution to soil, hence ground water by their melting. These may have hydrocarbons in small amounts.
  5. Clogging of pores and drainage path during construction and service life
  6. More salting- to prevent snow during winter season
  7. Cost of construction high during extreme conditions of temperature

Source - enggfeed

October 10, 2016

TOT or Advance Selling of Human Traffic Loads ?

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is preparing to start the process of monetizing toll-based operational road assets under the toll, operate and transfer (TOT) model, aimed to bring new investments to the highways sector.

“We have not as yet floated tenders to monetize road assets, but are preparing to do so. We expect to begin doing this in 2-3 months’ time under the TOT model,” NHAI chairman Raghav Chandra said in an email response to queries from Mint.

This will be India’s first exercise in auctioning NHAI’s operational projects after a cabinet clearance in August. The proceeds will fund new highway projects under various models.

NHAI is currently working on the guidelines for TOT, under which the investor will collect tolls and be responsible for operation and maintenance of the project. The TOT model will be essential to attract long-term foreign investment, financial investors and investment bankers told Mint.

NHAI can lease up to 75 national highway projects which are fetching tolls for at least two years to various entities on the TOT model. The overall annual toll collected from these projects is about Rs2,700 crore, against which NHAI can expect to raise Rs25,000-30,000 crore by granting 30-year concessions, said Ashish Agarwal, director (infrastructure) at investment bank Equirus Capital.

The TOT model is long overdue, said Gautam Bhandari, partner at I Squared Capital, a US-based investor in road projects. “We are hopeful that NHAI finally does launch its TOT programme so that it can serve as a model for other sectors as well. As a global investor, we believe that NHAI’s TOT model, if executed properly, could be a win-win for everyone. Proceeds from TOT auctions will free up valuable taxpayer capital that can then be recycled for much-needed new infrastructure projects,” he said.

I Squared is looking to invest as much as $1 billion in Indian infrastructure. It has invested more than Rs1,000 crore through its investment platform Cube Highways and Infrastructure Pte. Ltd in three road projects so far.

IDFC Alternatives, which has bought controlling stakes in operational road projects, is waiting to see the fine print. “The good part is that in the TOT model, there are far less variables and concerns to be addressed as compared to projects with embedded construction risks. The differences in the bids here would be more a function of how differently each investor views the traffic growth rates, maintenance costs, synergies with other projects in one’s portfolio, if any,” said Aditya Aggarwal, partner (infrastructure), IDFC Alternatives.

There is significant interest from international infrastructure funds in the Indian road sector, said Rahul Mody, managing director, Ambit Corporate Finance Pvt. Ltd. “The TOT model is an excellent idea. The model takes away two key risks in the road sector—delays or cost overruns and initial traffic discovery—as the assets that will be offered under this (model) will be operational with some tolling history; hence it should attract considerable interest from Indian companies as well as foreign investors,” Mody said.

“The model can be an avenue for NHAI to raise upfront capital to fund the EPC and HAM projects; opportunity to feed the increasing number of pension funds and infrastructure investors having access to low cost capital and further deepen the infrastructure market; and allowing players to choose better the nature of risk-reward play they want to play in the road sector,” Agarwal said.

Source- LiveMint