There are wheels in motion to call for a strong push to develop Malaysia’s roads going forward with concrete instead of the usual asphalt or tarmac due to its cost-effectiveness and medium to long-term advantages in durability.
Several voices are behind this chatter, including – as The Star writes – outgoing LaFarge Malaysia president and CEO Bradley Mulroney who expressed this exact sentiment as the industry’s wish in the upcoming Budget 2016.
He said: “We would like to see more concrete roads in Malaysia as it is competitive in usage as well as cost. Concrete roads are particularly suitable for rural and flood-prone areas as they are more durable. The promotion on this is also in line with the effort to support homegrown industries such as ours,”
Also, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed also chimed in and pointed to the enhanced durability of roads constructed with concrete over their asphalt counterparts. Reportedly, concrete surfaces currently account for less than one percent of Malaysia’s roads, mostly due to lack of awareness of it being an option.
“They also contribute to our economy as the raw materials are produced locally as opposed to bitumen for asphalt roads. A portion of the central spine road linking Gua Musang to Kuala Lipis was built using the continuous reinforced concrete pavement technology, thanks to the association. It is a cause I continue to support until today,” said Mustapa.
Datuk Yeoh Soo Keng, CEO of YTL Cement Bhd and chairman of the Cement & Concrete Association of Malaysia (C&CA), said that the association has worked closely with the government, exchanging support and assistance to overcome any economic hurdle.
“We will continue to support Malaysia’s nation building efforts and provide sufficient cement supply to meet the needs of the domestic market. “As what we have said in our mission statement in the coffee table book, C&CA is to be an authoritative and respected organisation for the advancement of the cement industry.”
According to Cement.org, the benefits of cement roads include:
- A long average service life of 30 to 50 years.
- Easier and lower maintenance requirements and cost. Alleviates the need for repeated resurfacing and allows for frequent spot repairs or patching.
- Construction of concrete pavements does not require lengthy lane closures and can ensure smooth traffic flow. Roads can be reopened in as short as six hours.
- Consumes minimal material, energy, and other resources for construction and repairs.
- Safer, with it being less susceptible to for the formation of heavy vehicle ruts, lighter colours makes it easier to see at night, surface texture offers improved vehicle stopping distance.