By Uche Amunike
The Anambra State Road Maintenance Agency (ARMA), has shown proof of her commitment towards rehabilitating dilapidated roads across the state by embarking on massive road repairs in areas needing attention. The Managing Director of the agency, Engr. Emeka Okoye disclosed this recently during a supervision tour of the massive road repairs presently ongoing in some designated places across the state.
Speaking to Fides in an interview at one of the work sites of the ongoing repair works, the ARMA boss averred that the interlocking bricks used to patch the roads when the heavy rains washed off the asphalt, worked in some places but didn’t work in some other places because of the load of traffic on such roads. This, he said, has made the agency to resort to patching the roads with concrete.
A number of roads have been mapped out for patch works like the INEC road, the road behind the JUHEL factory and as well, the road by the Commissioners’ Quarters, opposite St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church and repair works already started. Some roads, however cannot be closed during the day which was why, according to him, they had to work on them only at night. One of these roads is the very bad junction at the popular UNIZIK junction by Oby Okoli and the Ifite Road as well. Two different teams work on them only at night in order not to make movement frustrating to road users, were it sealed off for repair works during the day.
He expressed his satisfaction that in spite of the rains, the concrete remained intact so long as it had about 4 hours to set before motorists drive atop it, unlike what obtained when they used asphalt to patch the roads.
He expressed his anticipation of the operations of ARMA being beefed up immediately after the rains as more equipment are already being purchased to beef up the number of teams that are working in ARMA even as some contractors would be brought in before December to compliment the ARMA works and aggressively tidy up the pothole situation in all roads in Anambra North, South and Central.
Presently all the teams handling the different work sites, work with the target of patching at least 100 square metres of potholes and have met up with that target in the past few days. Interestingly, the agency has so far has patched 56,000 square metres in Anambra Central, 52,000 metres in Anambra South and 55,000 square metres of roads in Anambra North which brings it to about 163,000 square metres of roads since its inception.
Engr Okoye assured NdiAnambra to be patient as the challenges of the potholes were already being addressed and promised that it would be more aggressive immediately after the rains. He made the promise that above 90% of the roads would be patched before December. He however advised that people should try and clean the gutters in front of their houses or business premises and avoid dumping refuse inside them because about 60% of those potholes were caused by silted up drainages. ‘If the drains are filled up, water would be running on top of the asphalt which is the easiest way to kill the road. So the sands that collect there should be de-silted’, he said. He however expressed his joy that the government has set up a department that will focus on de-silting of drainages all year round.
According to him, Governor Obiano has acquired three equipments called Dura patchers which will be used to patch roads without waiting for asphalt that is produced the normal way. His words: ‘The beauty of the Dura Patcher is that it produces its own material which is a mixture of granites and Bituminous Emulsion. It is used in western climes and would be deployed as soon as the rains stop. The Obiano administration is fully committed to building roads and ARMA as an agency is equally geared to maintain the high network of roads in the state’.