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SLRA to introduce weigh bridges to minimise damage on roads

February 3, 2016 By Joseph S. Margai

In an effort to curb the damage done to roads by heavy-duty vehicles in the country, the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) is set to introduce permanent and mobile weigh bridges along border roads this year.

Already, the weigh bridges are in use at the Gbalamuya border checkpoint in Kambia District, northern Sierra Leone. The essence of weigh bridges is to test the weight of heavy-duty vehicles to ascertain as to whether they have the required weight to ply various routes in the country.

Sorie Ibrahim Kanu, Public Relations Officer at SLRA, said they would start to test trailers with at least axels as to their weight because most roads in Sierra Leone were constructed for 18-25 tons weight of vehicles. He added that heavy-duty vehicles have been largely responsible for the destruction of roads in the country.

“There is really no limit on the usage of the road, but if a vehicle carries more than the expected load that makes it weightier than the 18-25 tons, the SLRA will ask the driver to remove the excess load. And if the driver refuses he will be charged for maintenance expenditure for the destruction the vehicle will cause,” he explained.

Besides heavy-duty vehicles, another cause of damage to the country’s roads, according to the SLRA PRO, was the spilling of lubricants on the roads while drivers change oil in their vehicles. He noted that driving vehicles with naked rims could also destroy the roads, especially if they were constructed with asphaltic concrete (tar).

Kanu said the direct impact of fire on asphaltic concrete could also cause destruction to roads. “Some of the breakdown vehicles do not have reflective lights, thus the drivers will burn damaged tyres on the tarred road to notify incoming vehicles that there is a breakdown ahead. This also causes damage to the road,” he said. “Road accidents also damage the road and its designs like road signs, crash barriers, cat eyes (reflector lights), road sign notices, etc.”

He further claimed that roadside woman who set fire on tarred roads to fry cakes also help destroy the roads, adding that donors who finance the construction of these roads frown at the act.

Kanu added that water was the biggest enemy to asphaltic concrete, the reason engineers make drainages to allow water to flow freely. He said because people are in the habit of dumping waste into drainages they impede the free flow of water, which if allowed to settle on the tarred road, could eventually cause damage to it.

“Even the washing of cars on the road destroys it,” he affirmed.

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