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KUWAIT CITY, May 22: Even though about three and a half years have passed since the launch of the plan of the Ministry of Public Works and the Public Authority for Roads and Transportation (PART) to repave the highways and internal streets, some roads remain unchanged. The voices of those complaining about the worsening of the roads and the increasing danger continue to rise, reports Al-Qabas daily. The plan, which launched in the aftermath of the November 2018 rains, accompanied by the pledges to amend the asphalt mix and rehabilitate the streets, appears to have been shattered on the rocks of bureaucracy, administrative incompetence, slow implementation, and many other factors.
The daily took a tour of the streets and highways in various parts of the country and discovered the extent of the suffering that has been ongoing for years. This confirms that the efforts made have not succeeded in extinguishing the anger among motorists whose vehicles continue to be damaged when they use them on those roads. Large potholes cause fatal accidents, and loose gravel continues to fl y, destroying the rims and tires, and forcing car owners to replace them periodically at short intervals due to their deterioration caused by the lack of efficient maintenance of the roads.
If this is the case on the various highways, the situation in the internal parts of the country is worse and more severely damaging to the cars and their owners. Some potholes on the roads in these areas have turned into permanent “traps” due to lack of maintenance work in some of those areas for more than ten years. Despite the allocation of budgets worth millions annually for maintenance work carried out by the Ministry of Public Works, which is estimated at KD 50 million over the recent years, and despite the amounts allocated to PART to spend on highway maintenance, nothing has changed. According to informed sources from MPW and PART, both parties do not have a sufficient budget at present to complete the maintenance of roads, after the end of the majority of contracts and their wait for the signing of new ones.
MPW sources stated that the maintenance sector’s budget, which amounts to about KD 50 million annually, is divided by about 14 items, including the maintenance of government buildings and squares, revealing that the share for internal road maintenance is about 12 million annually. They explained that, despite the limited budget, the situation on the ground is that there are no maintenance contracts in most governorates at the present time.
The Capital Governorate, for example, has only a cleanliness contract, and not a road maintenance contract. Hawally Governorate has a cleanliness contract and another for emergency and miscellaneous works, but the latter ended in 2021. There is also a general maintenance contract for the roads in Hawally, Rumaithiya, Hateen and Shuhada areas that ended in January 2021, as well as the road maintenance contract for Maidan Hawally area. The Farwaniya Governorate has a contract for urgent and miscellaneous maintenance, and another for open yards in Farwaniya, Riggae and Khaitan areas only. These contracts are used to maintain other places in various governorates.
The sources revealed that most of the ongoing contracts have exhausted their budget due to the reliance on them to fix road problems in different parts of the country because of the severe shortage of contracts. They indicated that the Ministry of Public Works has a large number of contracts in the Central Agency for Public Tenders, and is waiting for the approval of the budget to sign those contracts and start the maintenance work.
It is worth mentioning that the persistence of the problem of widespread irresponsibility between MPW and PART, and the lack of disengagement between them are part of the problem that has existed for years, and this has reflected in the delay and decline in the maintenance work. Also, MPW’s maintenance sector had two years ago Amended Decision No. 571/2019 issued by the asphalt follow-up team, which stipulated adding polymer to the asphalt mixture, but it raises a question about the return of drilling in the areas that were maintained after the decision was amended.