Friday, June 22, 2007

In a first, Bihar gets US firm to check district roads for quality

In the thick of a massive road-building and upgradation exercise, Bihar has gone further in search of lasting quality for its roads and opened district construction projects to third party inspection.

At present, only under-construction national highways and externally aided road projects by the World Bank and ADB opt for third-party inspection for superior road quality and contractor accountability. Bihar government has tied up with US firm MSV International for “third party quality check of construction” of integrated road development projects in the state.

Starting on Thursday, 4,000 km of Bihar’s major district roads currently being two-laned, are being tested for quality construction work with the help of a Mobile Testing Van, a first for the state.

“The thinking is to get the best of roads in the state. So we came up with the plan to start third-party inspections,” said an official at the Road Construction Department in Bihar. “The MSV system will not only improve road quality but also help us rework maintenance contracts keeping road deficiencies in mind,” he said.

The testing will later be extended to other state highways under construction. About 4,000 km of the 7,000 km long district roads are presently being upgraded by the state, which is using its own funds estimated at Rs 1,400 crore.

The US firm’s testing van, packed with standard testing equipment, will test quality of work across the state and submit its reports to the executive engineer and chief engineer concerned of the central design organisation of Bihar.

In case poor construction activity is reported from any site, the mobile van will be rushed there for instant quality check. The tests will be carried out keeping in mind the standards prescribed by the Indian Roads Congress Codes & Publications, and the specifications listed out by the Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways.

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