National Highway Authority (NHA) has failed to execute maintenance and rehabilitation program of over Rs. 21 billion that were approved under the annual maintenance plan (AMP) for (2015-16 & 2016-17).
Official documents revealed that despite the failure to execute rehabilitation and maintenance works in 2015-16 and 2016-17, the National Highway Authority Executive Board approved the AMP for 2017-18, amounting to Rs. 27.263 billion.
A substantial periodic maintenance (structural & functional overlays) and rehabilitation program was approved under AMPs for fiscal year 2015-16 & 2016-17. However, due to delay in procurement of these contracts, work could not be executed within respective financial year.
An amount of Rs. 21.269 billion has been reserved in the AMP 2017-18 to meet the carried over work from the previous years’ annual maintenance plans, maintained the documents.
NHA is responsible for maintenance and operation of nearly all major inter-provincial roads. Strenuous efforts are required to uplift the level of service by NHA so that it can provide better communication links.
The total length of roads, which was 229,595 KM in 1996-97, has increased to 264,401 KM by 2016-17, an increase of 15.1 percent. This includes NHA network of around 12,131 km, which despite being merely 4.6% of the overall road network, carries 80% of Pakistan’s commercial traffic.
With growth in traffic volume/axle load levels and untimely maintenance, this precious asset is deteriorating at an alarming rate.
Sources said that NHA must ensure preservation of its network, which is not only worth hundreds of billions of rupees but is also absolutely vital to the growth of national economy. However, a substantial gap in maintenance needs/resources remains a major impediment.
NHA has achieved some success in previous years by gradually increasing the quality of maintenance through periodic overlays, provision of rigid pavements at places of rutting, replacement/rehab of dilapidated bridges, geometric improvements, urban area development including provision of facilities like service lanes, lighting, bus bays, parking lots, underpasses, overhead bridges, flyovers, fencing, etc, through toll revenue and commercialization of its RoW.
The present average network roughness is 4.40 IRI (for surveyed length of 10,686 Mm), which showed a decrease this year as compared to previous year’s results i.e. 4.49 IRI (Year 2015) & 5.65 IRI (Year 2014).
The main reason for this significant decrease in IRI is because about 2,195 km of the road network was improved through periodic maintenance and rehabilitation schemes approved under AMPs (AMP 2012-13 to AMP 2014-15).
Further, improvement of 1,423 km road length through schemes approved under AMPs 2015-16 & 2016-17 will further reduce the average network IRI.
It is envisaged that after execution and completion of works under AMP 20 17-18, the average road roughness would further decrease.
In order to maintain and contribute to the upkeep of the highway network, NHA requires more funds than available under Annual Maintenance Plan 2017-18 as per Highway Development and Management (HDM-4) analysis.
However, as per available revenue reports, AMP for fiscal year 2017-18 amounting to Rs. 27.263 billion has been prepared. In addition to this, funds for previous years’ AMPs carry forward, amounting to Rs. 21.269 billion that has been catered for under this year’s AMP.