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‘Long-term solutions required to maintain roads’
KUWAIT CITY, March 27: As a result of the absence of scientific planning and lack of reliance on expert opinions, and a misunderstanding of how to apply “flexible working hours”, most roads and streets came to a standstill, after vehicles continued to move at a snail’s pace and did not stop at a specific time in the morning or evening, reports Al-Rai daily. An informed security source told the daily “the application of flexible working hours with the beginning of the month of Ramadan contributed to an increase in the number of vehicles on the roads throughout the hours of the day, from the start of shifts in schools at 9:30 am, until after the end of the third shift, in addition to that the crowds and congestion in the streets at night, as people go to the markets, noting that the vehicles move relentlessly for 16 hours a day, and does not subside until midnight until the start of the morning shift.
The source added, “The new situation put security men and traffic patrols on constant alert around the clock, after the matter was limited to specific hours before, as the crowds used to start with students going to schools and employees to their workplaces at one time, and then returning.” The roads fl owed to their normal state, but after applying the flexible working hours, which allowed each entity to choose the appropriate time for its employees’ working hours according to 3 shifts, a continuous movement of activity and a high density of vehicles reflected on all the streets of the country, which makes the idea of flexible working hours lose its purpose of achieving fl exibility. The source believed that “some patchwork solutions are not suitable to keep pace with the traffic crisis, and some serious steps must be taken in this regard, such as relying on mass transport, withdrawing driving licenses from those who do not meet the conditions, and setting fees on some highways, in addition to doing away with traffic lights.”
Meanwhile , the Ministry of Works said “the total area of the internal road network is 50 million square meters, while the area of highways is 25 million square meters,” and said urgent attention must be paid to the First and Fourth Ring Roads, the completion of the Sixth and Seventh Ring Roads, the Subbiya, Abdali and Salmi roads, and highways. As for the internal road network that needs maintenance, the area is about 30 million square meters (more than half of the total area), reports Al-Rai daily.
Despite the great efforts made by the Ministry of Works to solve the problem of deteriorating highways or internal roads, the crisis requires long-term solutions and plans that are carefully implemented within a specific timetable. The sources stated that the plan for laying asphalt according to the improved mixture, from 2019 to 2022, resulted in the completion of maintenance of 11.2 million square meters on highways, and 16.8 million square meters of internal roads, and the ministry benefited during that period due to the closure of roads during the Corona crisis and the accompanying curfew, and worked to double the maintenance of roads to 4 times compared to what was being accomplished in the past.
The sources added, “After the heavy rains that the country witnessed this year, and with the reassessment of the roads again, it was found that 93 percent of the roads that were paved, since the implementation of the plan began in 2019 until now, did not cause any damage as a result of the rains while only seven percent developed cracks in the asphalt.