Sand trucks traversing Linden Highway major offenders of axle overload – survey finds

first_imgA recent axle load survey conducted of trucks which traverse the Soesdyke- Linden Highway has unearthed major axle overloading by heavy-duty trucks. The survey was conducted by a design and consultancy team attached to Beston/SRKN’gineering, which has been contracted by the Public Infrastructure Ministry to conduct feasibility studies and detailed designs for the major rehabilitation of the Highway.A team attached to the Public Infrastructure Ministry recently visited the office of the Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) Regional Democratic Council (RDC) along with a design team where various aspects of the project were presented to Regional Chairman Renis Morian and Councillors. These included an overview of the project, scope of work and initial activities and findings. Project Director and team leader attached to SRKN, Stuart Hughes, explained that one of the key aspects conducted was an axle load survey which was done on both sides of the highway – at Amelia’s Ward and Soesdyke. In presenting the initial findings, Hughes said 36 hours of continuous count was carried out with heavy-duty trucks which were weighed. It was observed that sand trucks were major defaulters.“With the assistance of the Guyana Police Force, we stopped the trucks and we directed them unto these weigh pads. And the weigh pads basically wirelessly measured the weight of these axles and transmitted it to the laptop. So we were able to get the actual load of each and every axle for each and every one of these trucks which we stopped at these two locations,” he noted.Hughes continued that a total of 1199 to 1200 trucks were weighed at the end of a 72-hour period, with a majority being sand trucks at the Soesdyke end. In explaining the relevance of the exercise, Hughes said in designing a road one has to assume a certain axle load, which is 8.2 tonnes. However, he noted that a sand truck at Soesdyke recorded the heaviest at 19 tonnes. These trucks, he pointed out, recorded higher than fuel and logging trucks. Hughes said the heaviest logging truck recorded was 16 tonnes axle load.“The heaviest truck that we recorded which was down at the Soesdyke end was actually 19 tonnes. Going into the Roads Act Chapter 51:02, the Regulation which I found… the actual legal limit as it stands is 7.2 tonnes… basically for every tonne that is actually heavier than the design limit… the damage that’s being done… A 16-tonne truck would be doing 22 times the actual damage. Nineteen tonnes you’re up to thirty something times the actual damage. So, we can design for this, but the question is we’ll end up with a very, very expensive pavement… It would be a very, very expensive undertaking,” he noted.Hughes explained that the company is not required to look at the legal implications of this, but rather it is a task for the Ministry. He added however that this gives an idea of what is happening on the roadway. The Project Director said when the company submits its pavement design report, it would have to seek guidance from the Ministry as to whether it should go ahead to design based on the findings, or whether it intends to put in place a much more active weight limit enforcement programme on the roadway.Implications/recommendationsIn explaining the implications, Hughes pointed out further that the company is required to make recommendations. He also called for more control mechanisms to be put in place in moving forward.“That also is part of what we have to do, we have to recommend a weight control programme to the Ministry…There clearly must be some control of these trucks that are traversing the highway. It has economic implications, because if it continues like this…you may have a situation where your pavement, your road does not actually last…”, he explained.Social and Gender Specialist Vanda Radzick who is working along with the team in giving her input made the recommendation for overloaded trucks to be upgraded, noting that this is safer and in keeping with policy.“One of the things at a policy level may be to encourage these single axle overloaded trucks to modernise and have a double axle to save the road and distribute the weight. And it’s safer and it’s more within the law. So, law and policy – the designer may make recommendations, but at the end of the day the engineers and designers, that’s not their jurisdiction. It still has to go back to enforcement, law and policy”, she outlined.Hughes said based on observations, there is a solid foundation to work with but the company just has to come up with a design solution to build on it. He noted that in his 25 plus year career as a civil engineer he has not seen such a fixed pavement as the one he’s seen on the highway.He said cracking was discovered on the asphalted concrete layer which will be dealt with. According to the Project Director, the company has also conducted a geotechnical investigation in order to propose a solution. He added that it has to conduct a technical and economic feasibility report and an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment which will assist the Ministry in obtaining a permit from the Environmental Protection Agency. (Utamu Belle)last_img read more