Africa Transport Technical Note No.14

Experiences in several Latin American countries, show the promises, and challenges of contracting out road maintenance, based on performance standards, rather than on the traditional way, which is based on a schedule of unit prices, and estimates of quantities. Performance standards are defined by: the International Roughness Index (IRI) to measure road surfaces, as it affects vehicle operating costs; by the absence of potholes, and the control of cracks, and rutting; by the minimum amount of friction between tires, and the road surface for safety reasons; by the maximum amount of siltation, or other obstruction of the drainage system; by the retro-flexivity of road signs, and markings; and, by the control of vegetation close to the roadway, according to a specific, given height. Lessons suggest first of all, a careful planning of performance specifications, for the successful implementation of pilot schemes for contracting out road maintenance; secondly, close collaboration between road administrations, and contractors is paramount to achieve substantial improvement of road conditions; and, management, financial, and technical training is recommended, particularly for less-experienced contractors.

File Type: 
Date of Publication (Year): 
Jun 1998
Gunter Zietlow