Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has issued a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for maintenance of National Highways (NHs) to ensure that no NH stretch is left “unattended”.
The ministry has prescribed three types of maintenance contracts – short term, performance based and improvement of riding quality or periodic renewals.
While there has been a manifold increase in highway construction in the past eight-and-half years, the maintenance of NHs in some sections of the 1.46 lakh km network has been a matter of concern.
There have been several instances where the notified NH stretches are not maintained as the Detailed Project Reports (DPRs), for their expansion have been prepared or being finalised or pending where a contractor has got the project, but work has not started.
In such cases, the ministry said, the highway owning agencies should go for “short-term maintenance” contracts for a maximum of one year.
For stretches where road condition is good and structurally sound, and no expansion is planned for the next 5-7 years, the agencies will opt for “performance-based maintenance contract”.
In this case, the payment is linked to the performance of the maintenance contractor as set in the contract.
For NH stretches, which are not covered under these two categories or are recently declared NHs; the agencies can go for periodic renewal or improvement of riding quality works.
“It may be ensured that all the NH stretches in a particular state or UT are either covered under development work, Defect Liability Period (DLP) or any of the above maintenance contracts. All maintenance contracts of developed stretches should be initiated well before the closure of DLP period so that just after DLP, one maintenance contract is already and the stretch is not left unattended,” the circular said.
DLP is the period for which the construction company building a project is responsible for deficiencies in maintenance and structures as well.
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