x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Road construction idea is saving millions

A suggestion to use less asphalt in road construction has saved millions of dirhams, officials say.

DUBAI // A suggestion by a roads official at Al Ain Municipality has provided a route to savings of Dh120 million in just over a year.

Saleh al Mazrouei proposed a means of reducing the amount of asphalt used for roads without compromising safety or durability. His innovative design has cut the cost of laying every kilometre of new road by 20 per cent.

Yesterday, he was named one of the winners of the Idea of the Year competition, organised as part of the Ideas.Arabia conference run by the Dubai Quality Group. The conference focused on staff suggestion-box schemes.

"We reduced the thickness of asphalt from 11cm to 7cm for internal roads in residential areas," said Mr al Mazrouei, the head of maintenance at the municipality's roads section. "We reduced the amount of aggregate used. Before we had two layers, one of 5cm and one of 6cm, but now we have only one layer.

"I had the idea in the middle of 2009 and it was implemented at the beginning of 2010. The savings will increase every year. We have strategic goals to achieve and we build a lot of new roads. And if there is any rehabilitation of internal roads, we will use this idea. It will be safe, and the single layer will last the same length of time as two layers - 20 to 25 years."

The idea was prompted by the lack of a local supply after quarrying was halted around Al Ain - and it has produced environmental benefits as well as financial savings.

"We have to use a lot of trucks to bring in aggregate from Oman and Ras al Khaimah, and we've reduced the volume of CO2 emissions by 35 per cent for every kilometre of road laid," he added.

Mr al Mazrouei won the award for the idea that produced the greatest financial savings. Others were honoured in categories such as environment, technology and customer service.

The overall winner was Hind Ismaeel al Rahma, of Dubai Municipality, who came up with a method of inspecting paintwork.

csimpson@thenational.ae