The Immediate past President of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, Engr kashim Ali has advised the country policy makers, urban planners and the engineers to pay attention to the environmental impact on roads infrastructures if they want the country to achieve road sustainability. Isqil Najim reports.
Engr Ali made this recommendation during the Second memorial Lecture organised in honour of a past President of NSE and COREN, Late Chief Samuel Fadaunsi. The event was organised by the Nigerian Institution of Environmental Engineers (NIEE) under the leadership of Engr Olalekan Ajani.
Presenting the topic, the “Impact of Flooding on the Sustainability of Roads in Nigeria,” Engr Ali who is also a past President of Nigerian Society of Engineers said that Nigeria can no longer ignore the impact of climate change which has manifested as extreme changes to our environment, such as frequent and intense rainfall, rise in sea level, which mostly result to flooding. According to him, “the engineering profession needs to understand climate change and account for it in design and maintenance of public infrastructure. He added that there is also need to develop or revise policies, standards and tools to guide Professional Engineers in their day-to-day practice.
He said that while flooding is among the major natural hazards that threaten transportation infrastructure, these infrastructures need to be well planned and designed to be able to withstand current and possible future climate-driven increases in flood frequencies and magnitudes.
The flooding of road infrastructure has significant impacts on the city’s transportation system, economy, lives and even other critical infrastructures. The consequent stagnant water on streets as a result of heavy downpour also “erodes road surfaces and exacerbates pothole formation, this creating damage on road infrastructure which poses a direct threat to people’s safety, as well as has economic and social impacts.” He said.
He pointed out that while so many reports have been presented on various flooding impacts, very little have been made on the damages to road transport infrastructure
The Road transportation network is very important for the economic development of each country. An efficient road system gives a country or region a competitive edge in moving people, goods, and services safely and economically
Engr. Ali suggested that the Engineers and city planners must build resilience and sustainability into urban planning and design to help communities prepare for extreme weather events, such as flooding. He said Infrastructure needs to be designed, operated and maintained in a way that minimizes the risk of destruction, disruption or deterioration due to changing climatic conditions.
Engr Ali concluded by urging engineers to embrace sustainable and harmonized approach in road construction and maintenance. He added there is need for integrated road planning and development because of the strong interaction between structures (roads) and the vulnerable and valuable floodplain. Further,. he advised policy makers should not place emphasis on the ‘cheapest price’ model; and that focus should be on solutions that are cost-effective based not only on price, but also on environmental performance. In so doing, the industry can be incentivize to roll out innovations that will make road infrastructure construction and maintenance greener.
Also speaking the National Chairman of the Institution Engr Olalekan Ajani said, the event is organised in memory of the late Fadahusi. He said the Nigerian Institution of Environmental Engineers (NIEE) is one of the divisions of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and saddled with the responsibility to cater for the professional development of Engineers with bias in water, solid liquid and gaseous wastes, civil, agriculture, safety, power engineering and others for our sustainable environment.
The Deputy President of NSE, Engr Tasiu Wudi represented the NSE president Engr Babagana Muhammed. extolled the late Engr Fadahunsi for his contributions both home and abroad.
Also speaking at the event, Engr Prof Josiah Ayotamuni spoke on the impact of flooding on sustainable roads. He mentioned that huge sum of money is usually spent on road maintenance and this is made worse due to flooding and erosion activities, though no infrastructure lasts forever, flooding worsens it.
Mitigating the impact of flood on road infrastructures in Nigeria was addressed by prof Adelere Adeniran. There are road networks all over Nigeria but many are hardly usable The government spends billions of naira on roads but sadly, those large amount can be washed away by food. The mitigating strategies include strictly adhering to the road construction standards, basing road planning and design on international best practices, and the financial commitment by the FG should also support better guidance on integrated planning and design of roads. Also properly designed protection helps limit the damage.