Remember the base foundation we discussed under “Pavement Design 101” above? It has a lot to do with why roads don’t last in Ghana.
As we just found out, it is very expensive to quarry and transport the base material to make roads. So, what some construction companies do is to cut corners in building the base foundation. Instead of using for example, a compacted depth of 152 millimeters (6 inches), they will use only 76 millimeters (3 inches). Not only would they reduce the depth of the foundation, they may also reduce the amount gravel or stones in the base foundation material. And like a foundation of a building, if it is not strong, the building will collapse sooner than expected. Another reason roads do not last is poor drainage.
Some contractors do not take the time to build a good or adequate drainage along the road. By the way, for the benefit of some, drainage is a system of pipes, swales, detention ponds, culverts, bridges built as part of the roadway infrastructure to channel water safely along or across the road. If proper drainage is not designed with the planning of the roadway itself, runoff (rainwater) will find the weaker points of the roadway pavement and chip away the road. Rainwater can also seep through the asphalt or the bitumen chip seal and weaken the base foundation. When heavy cars drive on a road with wet base foundation, potholes are created and that sets the road up for disintegration.
There are other reasons why roads in Ghana do not last, but these two are the main reasons. This is why using EZ to build the road foundation or as a roadway pavement is beneficial; EZ pavement repels water plus, even if the compacted depth is reduced from 152 millimetres to 76 millimetres, if the 76-millimetre EZ road is well compacted, the foundation will be strong enough to make roads last longer. However, those contractors that may cut corners may not need to cut corners with EZ pavements because laterite and clay materials are in abundant supply and they are usually very close to the project, eliminating quarrying and hauling or transportation cost of materials.
Read about how Inotecol's solutions help solve this problem in our next post.