Concrete solution for highway’s pothole problem

A photo of the Pasir Gudang Highway taken on Jan 26.

TURNING parts of the Pasir Gudang Highway into a rigid pavement or concrete road may be the best long-term solution to avoid maintenance issues like potholes, an expert says.

Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Johor Pasir Gudang campus civil engineering studies senior lecturer Mohamed Khatif Tawaf Mohamed Yusof said flexible pavement made from asphalt concrete had been used for the highway.

Asphalt concrete requires high maintenance and is subject to various types of defects, he said.

Mohamed KhatifMohamed Khatif

“Concrete pavement is more suitable compared to flexible pavement as it can withstand higher traffic load and has a longer service life.

“The only downside is that the initial cost of development is high, hence why the Federal Government needs to step in,” he said when asked about the recent pothole issue on the Pasir Gudang Highway that went viral on social media.

On the upside, concrete roads were cheaper to maintain than flexible pavement, said Mohamed Khatif.

He said the Pasir Gudang City Council (MBPG) and Public Works Department (JKR) should also improve their assessment system on repair works.

“Repairs must be assessed by the local council or JKR to ensure that they meet specifications and quality.

“Poor maintenance work can also result in constant repairs,” he said.

He added that the city council or JKR should change contractors who failed to provide quality work.

“Potholes usually occur due to a large volume of water in the soil.

“The soil below the road pavement loses its bearing capacity and becomes soft, leading to cracks,” said Mohamed Khatif.

“If a crack is not treated immediately, it becomes a pothole.”

He said there were two types of drainage – surface drainage and sub-surface drainage – in any highway construction.

“Constant maintenance must be carried out for water to flow smoothly and drainage systems must not be clogged with rubbish or sand which leads to water stagnating and subsequently, results in potholes,” he added.

Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Abdul Karim said he had contacted Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for an allocation for the Pasir Gudang Highway.

“The highway falls under Works Ministry’s jurisdiction.

“I hope the ministry can help improve the road condition in Pasir Gudang,” he said.

Hassan, who had posted on the same issue on his Facebook page, said the highway’s condition had worsened.

“Potholes do not only happen in Pasir Gudang but elsewhere too.

“I have voiced out on potholes since 2018, but still no concrete action has been taken,” he said, likening potholes on highways to death traps.

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