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A good network of roads links which connecting rural villages to main road will be an essential development strategy in order to promote better national economic and social development.

The Road Home

(Photo credit: BombartZ)

35 per cent of Malaysians live in rural area, and eight per cent remaining unconnected by paved roads.

Ensuring access to basic infrastructure in rural areas ensures more equitable distribution of wealth, facilitates economic activity (e.g., road connectivity facilitates increased trade and commerce as it allows freer movement of goods and services, whilst the availability of electricity and water is essential for many types of industrial activity), and has a direct effect on national GDP. A widely-cited economic index puts the direct multiplier effect of infrastructure GDP spending at 1.5 times the expenditure[1].

As part of this programme, Government will build approximately 1,900 km of roads in Sabah and Sarawak. As a result of the programme, an estimated additional 800,000 people will be connected to the roads network.

In Peninsular Malaysia, when the programme is completed in 2012, close to 100% of the population in Peninsular Malaysia will live within five kilometres of a paved road.

Better road for rural communities is required in order to improve the health and education of rural communities as better road access will shorten the travelling time to the health care centre and schools especially during the rainy season.

It also will boost business opportunities of the farmers as this will increase the production and shorten the distribution time of agricultural products to markets.

Building road the using conventional road construction method, will need huge amount of suitable quarry materials to be mined which will increase the carbon footprint emission to the environment.

For rural road construction, in view of possible unavailability and inaccessibility of the sophisticated machineries, the construction methodology of in-situ soil stabilization can be modified, to cater for the working condition in rural areas, as well as using machines available as an alternative.

Spreading of stabilizing agent can be done manually, which can effectively lower the construction cost, this provides more job opportunities to the local residents. Besides, the widely available agricultural rotorvator can replace the specialize stabilizer[2].

By applying chemical soil stabilization, physical and mechanical properties of in-situ soil can be improved to meet the requirements. This contributes to less raw backfilling materials, such as granite aggregates and granular soils.

This resulting in reduce the demands on natural resources and it is commercially efficient for urban cities and rural areas lacking of natural quarry materials.

Besides that, the reduced usage of raw backfilling materials involves energy conservation from much less materials transportation and less mechanical crushing of granite aggregate.

For rural areas and farming region the transportation of quarry materials is often far and can be done in small transport vehicles.

Conventional pavement construction remove unsuitable soil as treated as construction waste thus requires proper dumpsite for disposal.

Due to high dumping cost, illegal dumping of the soil waste occurs frequently and creating environmental issues.

With chemical soil stabilization, unsuitable in-situ soil can be reused, instead of being removed as a construction waste.

By stabilizing in-situ soil, the procedures of excavation of in-situ soil and replacement of backfilling material are eliminated.

Therefore, the construction speed of chemical soil stabilization is generally three to five times faster than conventional replacement method, which allows early completion and early usage of the roads.

With less heavy vehicular movement involved, environmental pollution such as air, noise and dirt deposit can be greatly reduced.

By recycling in-situ soil, usage of raw granite aggregate is greatly reduced. For area lacking of natural quarry materials, reduction of raw granite usage can generally contribute to more than 10% direct saving in total construction cost.

It is also easier and faster construction that requires less manpower and machineries, contributes to saving in terms of man-hour cost and rental for machineries.

A road with better quality requires much less maintenances. Besides, better performances of stabilized soil can lengthen the life span of the pavement.

There are several other techniques that can be adopted in conditions of low bearing capacity soils, marshy lands and location with drainage problems such as the use of geo-textiles. Several types of geo-textiles including synthetic, jute coir et cetera are proved to give good results and provide cost effectiveness for rural roads[3].

Source : GTP Roadmap, The New JKR Manual On Pavement Design and A Critical Review Of Innovative Rural Road Construction Techniques And Their Impacts.

-SNASH-(this article written for 1BINA.my)


[1] A Second Quick Boost From Government Could Spark Recovery: comments by Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Economy.com. Edited excerpts of testimony he gave before the U.S. House Committee on Small Business on July 24, 2008

[2] Lee, M., Tan, P. C., Daud, & Wu, D. Q. (2010, June). Green Approach to Rural Roads Construction – Stabilization of In-Situ Soils And Construction Wastes. Presented at The 7th Asia Pacific Conference on Transportation and the Environment, Semarang, Indonesia, 3 – 5 June 2010

[3] Vedula, M., Nath G, P., & Chandrashekar, B. P.  A Critical Review of Innovative Rural Road Construction Techniques And Their Impacts.