By Valentina Castaño
In 2021, Medellín allocated $98,422 million to the care and repair of its road network. In 2022 the figure was close to $74,405 million to repair deteriorated asphalt. These investments are part of the $394,000 million earmarked for such a mission in the four-year period, an amount that is the highest for this purpose in recent decades.
If it is true that this administration has invested and worked for the care of the city’s streets more than its predecessors, why then are citizens complaining that there are more holes than ever?
“Yes, the damage to the roads has been noticed more in this administration than in other periods,” says Diego Mejía, a member of the National Union of Transporters of Antioquia and a taxi driver for more than 30 years. For his part, Juan Ignacio Valderrama, a member of the Antioquia Motorcyclists Association (Amat), believes that “something is definitely happening, anyone who goes by motorcycle, or even by car, is in danger due to the current condition of the roads.”
What is deteriorating the asphalt?
One of the hypotheses regarding the excessive damage to the road network in Medellín are the heavy rains that have hit the Aburrá Valley in the last two years, mainly in 2022.
According to SIATA (Early Warning System of Medellín and the Aburrá Valley), in a typical March the average rainfall in the center of Aburrá is 100 mm, while in March 2022 an accumulated 140 was reported. mm.
It is a reality that asphalt can deteriorate more quickly when it is in prolonged contact with water. Whether they are puddles in the street or water running on the asphalt, it is important that the roads drain quickly, something that is not happening in the city since many of the drains (through which the water goes to the sewer) that EPM manages in Medellín they are blocked, either by land or garbage.
By not being drained in time, the water contributes to the oxidation of the asphalt layer, especially when it penetrates through it; however, the most damaging effect arises when water is combined with traffic loads, since this liquid remains in the pores and cracks of the pavement due to the effect of tire pressure, which generates a vacuum pressure that gradually destroys the surface. asphalt.
What does the city do?
2023 began with the news that the administration will double the number of crews that intervene in holes in the territory:
“I authorized doubling the number of crews. An important issue is that the crews do a very good job when they pass over the road, but in those high-risk holes, a prior safety covering is done, then the crew will pass to completely resurface,” said Mayor Daniel Quintero. Street.
According to the local president, the District Administration is currently developing an exercise to refine the database that collects the number of gaps, with the aim of identifying the real number that must be intervened and thus prioritizing actions in coordination with different secretariats and decentralized entities.
In the same way, he argues that delays in repairs are often due to problems with contractors, whether they abandon the work or there are subsequent damages to their work for which a guarantee must be requested.
And while it seems that important action is being taken, the measures are nothing that has not been seen in the past, only time will tell if they are enough to solve this growing problem.
In Centrópolis we took a tour of the downtown streets to identify holes and damage in the pavement that have not yet been repaired and this is what we found: