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Road rage in Mon State as repair work rankles

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One of the main arteries through Mon State – a pot-hole ridden, corroded road connecting Mawlamyine to Thanbyuzayat – is currently in the process of being upgraded, but residents are complaining that the construction work is of poor quality.

The Aye Ko Family Construction Company Limited (AK Company) won a 50-year build-operate-transfer contract under which 20 miles of the roadway must be repaved by June next year, said U Soe Moe, the company’s project director. If the first spate of repairs goes well, the company will upgrade the remaining 17 miles by June 2019.

“Currently, we have finished repairing all the potholes. We will continue to do repairs if holes continue to appear. We have arranged with the Union Ministry of Construction to build an asphalt road for 20 miles. If we can’t finish building it by June 2018, we will stop collecting road tolls and return the road to the state,” said U Soe Moe.

A man pretends to fish out of a pothole in a section of the Mawlamyine-Thanbyuzayat road. (Photo – Facebook)

Last month, the company’s roadwork was ridiculed on social media, however. Members of the public posted pictures of allegedly shoddy construction work, including potholes that have already appeared along supposedly repaired stretches of the road.

U Soe Moe attributed the appearance of holes to heavy rainfall and trucks carrying excess loads.
Mon State Chief Minister U Aye Zan confirmed the terms of the company’s contract, but added that the construction work also includes building a bridge.

“If [the company] can’t do it, they must return the road back [to us] since this is a Union road,” he said.

According to members of the state government, company representatives have already been summoned and reprimanded.

Mon State’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Construction U Min Kyaw Lwin compared the Mawlamyine-Thanbyuzayat road to another Union road under the management of Shwe Thanlwin Company in Thaton district. He said while the latter road was also in poor condition, the construction company repaired it in timely manner with better quality work than is being carried out under the AK Company’s management.

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