Project to upgrade 1.3 km of Awuch-Lanydyang road in Amida subcounty, Kitgum district from Gravel to Butimen standard using Labour-intensive low-cost seal Technology.
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This report describes the design, tender documentation, contractor procurement and implementation of a project to upgrade section of Awuch – Lanydyang road in Amida Subcounty in Kitgum district from gravel to bitumen standard using labour intensive low-cost seal technology. Government of Uganda has for close to 10 years been promoting this technology with the primary objective of creating employment opportunities for the many unemployed citizens. Secondly, continuous re-gravelling of district and community access roads is also becoming unsustainable become non-renewal road construction materials, such as gravel, are fast getting depleted. Thirdly, sealed roads reduce environmental and health effects of dust arising from gravel roads. The author was the project manager and was involved in the project in identification, preliminary and detailed engineering design, tender documentation and contract management. This project was implemented using the traditional project implementation approach where the designer is an employee of the Client and is also responsible for inspection, monitoring and control during construction while actual construction is done by a contractor under contract with the Client. The design process involved preliminary road evaluation, geometric design and road safety considerations, drainage considerations, materials assessment, and pavement and surfacing design. The Dynamic Cone Penetrometer catalogue approach was used for design of the pavement layers. Environmental and social safeguards were also considered during the design phase where potential environmental and social impacts of the project were identified and considerations put in tender and contract documents to ensure that negative impacts are mitigated and positive impacts are enhanced. The standard bidding document prepared under authority of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority for use in the procurement of works was extensively used. Additional items drawing the attention of the bidder to the labour-based and low-cost seal approaches were added where necessary. The Technical Compliance Selection methodology was used during bid evaluation. The bidding process attracted only two bidders and the contract was awarded to the best evaluated bidder at a contract price of Ushs 318,421,107=. The construction process involved scarifying the existing gravel wearing course to a depth of 200 mm, watering, re-compacting and reshaping to give a camber of 3% to serve as the new subbase. Construction of the road base involved importing gravel, stabilizing with 4% lime, compacting and curing. The stabilized road base was primed using MC 30 about a week before starting the sealing operation. The sealing operation involved spraying controlled quantity the binder on the primed base layer, spreading aggregate and compacting using loaded tipper trucks.xiii The contract was signed on 16th November, 2018 and work commenced on 1st December, 2018 with intended completion date of 30th May, 2019. However, arising from the saving, the contractor was given instructions to execute additional works and the project scope increased from upgrading 1.3 km to upgrading 1.55 km. In accordance with the conditions of contract the completion date was extended to 30th June, 2019. The Contractor substantially completed the works on 5th July, 2019, that is, five days behind schedule. During the course of implementation the Contractor also stopped work for over one month when such stoppage was not provided for in the work schedule and the Contractor had to be cautioned. A number of quality control tests were carried out during implementation. The stabilized road base failed the first in-situ density test and the Contractor was instructed to scarify, re-water and re-compact the road base before a second test was carried out. Environmental and social management plan was prepared during the planning phase and this was used to monitor the Contractor‟s compliance with environmental and social safeguards requirements. Only contractors who had undergone training in low-cost seal at Mount Elgon labour-based training centre were considered eligible to bid for the works as a result the advert attracted only two bids. The people employed to work on the project generally lack knowledge and experience on low-cost seal and had to be taken through some on-site training. The Contractor also experienced problems in getting bitumen and pneumatic rollers. This greatly affected the smooth implementation of the project. Participation of women in the project was quite low despite efforts to promote their participation. The amount paid to the labourers for their daily labour was generally below the market rate and this made the project unattractive. Besides, the Contractor sometimes took unnecessarily long to pay the workers. The few challenges encountered notwithstanding, upgrading of the road section was generally well executed, given that low-cost seal technology is still fairly new in Uganda. A total of 4,340 work-days were created as a result of the project, an indication that labour-based road works has the potential to significantly reduce unemployment in the country. In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of delivering low-cost seal road projects there is need to train more people in the technology by incorporating design, construction and maintenance of low volume sealed roads in training curricula of the different tertiary institutions that train engineers and technicians and increase funding for research in low volume sealed roads. There is also need to formulate policies that support labour-based road works