National Rural Roads Development Agency




Road maintenance is a routine work performed to upkeep pavement, shoulders and other facilities provided for road users, as nearly as possible in its constructed condition, and at least at an adequate level of serviceability. Even with the highest possible quality of construction, maintenance is essential to get optimum service from the pavement structure during its life period. All pavements require maintenance as they are subjected to traffic and environmental effects. Maintenance helps in preserving the pavement surface, and thus postpones the need for costly investments in rehabilitation. Unsealed roads deteriorate at a faster rate compared to sealed roads and hence need greater attention; at the same time maintenance operations on unsealed roads are more easily done, particularly at community level. Maintenance requirements are dependent on traffic, terrain, soil type, climate etc. and it is possible therefore to devise management systems which optimise maintenance costs and maintenance efforts.


As per Para 17 of PMGSY Guidelines, State Governments are required to undertake the maintenance of the entire Core Network, particularly the road works constructed/upgraded under the PMGSY. State Governments are required to develop sustainable sources of funding for undertaking the maintenance functions. In respect of roads constructed / upgraded under the PMGSY, as per the Standard Bidding Document, 5-year routine maintenance is contracted out along with the construction itself to the same contractor who is constructing the road. In respect of Through Route subjected to PMGSY investments a further 5-year maintenance on Zonal contract basis will need to be done as per para 17.3 of the PMGSY guidelines.


Maintenance operations during the period of 5 years shall be based on Chapter 11 of Rural Roads Manual (IRC: SP: 20:2002). Its specific provisions are:

  1. Clause 11.2, which, explains the various types of distress/defects of pavements. For example, cracks, ravelling, rutting, pot holes etc.

  2. Clause 11.3, which, defines different maintenance activities. For example, fog seal, bituminous surface treatment, etc.

  3. Clause 11.4, which suggests planning of routine maintenance.

  4. Clause 11.5 and Clause 11.6 (a), which, define preventive and corrective maintenance, and classify activities of routine maintenance and repairs.

  5. Clause 11.7, which, discusses in detail the assessment of defects and maintenance measures for sealed roads, roads with rigid / RCCP and Roads with special pavement.

  6. Appendix 11.1of Rural Roads Manual lays down the periodicity of routine maintenance (attached as annexure-14.1)

  7. Appendix 11.3, of Rural Roads Manual, covers the special problems of Road Maintenance in Heavy Rainfall / Snow fall areas (attached as annexure-14.2)

  8. Appendix 11.4, of Rural Roads Manual, explains the nature of activities in maintenance of shoulders, drainage structures and causeways (attached as annexure-14.3)

2.2.2 Each State Government shall nominate a Department as the Nodal Department. The Nodal Department shall have overall responsibility for the implementation of PMGSY in the State. All communication between the MoRD and the State Government would be with and through the Nodal Department/State level Agency. The Nodal Department shall normally be the State Department responsible for rural roads.


Clause 32: Correction of defects noticed during the Defect Liability Period and Routine Maintenance of Roads for five years

Clause 32.2.1: The Contractor shall do the routine maintenance of roads, including pavement, road side and cross drains to the required standards and keep the entire road surface and structure in defect free condition during the entire maintenance period which begins at completion and ends after five years.

Clause 32.2.2: The routine maintenance standards shall meet the following requirements:

  1. Potholes on the road surface to be repaired soon after these appear or brought to his notice either during Contractor’s monthly inspection or by the Engineer.
  2. Road shoulders to be maintained in proper condition to make them free from excessive edge drop offs, roughness, scouring or potholes.
  3. Cleaning of surface drains including reshaping to maintain free flow of water
  4. Cleaning of culverts and pits for free flow of water.
  5. Any other maintenance operation required to keep the road traffic worthy at all time during the maintenance period.

Clause 32.2.3: To fulfil the objectives laid down in clauses 32.2.1 & 32.2.2 above, the Contractor shall undertake detailed inspection along with JE of the roads at least once in a month. The Engineer can reduce this frequency in case of emergency. The Contractor shall forward to the Engineer the record of inspection and rectification each month. The Contractor shall pay particular attention on those road sections which are likely to be damaged or inundated during rainy season.

Clause 32.2.4: The Engineer may issue notice to the Contractor to carry out maintenance of defects, if any, noticed in his inspection, or brought to his notice. The Contractor shall remove the defects within the period specified in the notice and submit to the Engineer a compliance report.

Clause 46.1: In case contractors quote low for maintenance activities, performance security for such activity should be obtained as security towards unbalanced bid.


14.5.1 As per the provisions in the Standard Bidding Document the PMGSY roads shall be maintained by the contractors for five years from the date of completion of the work. During this period the Contractor shall carry out all routine maintenance works required to keep the road in good condition. The various work items for Routine Maintenance are listed below:

  1. Clearing/re-shaping of road side drains.
  2. Pothole filling (WBM & BT).
  3. Filling up edges of asphalt surface.
  4. Dressing of berms, earth work on berms, rain cuts and dressing of earthen embankments, Turfing whenever necessary.
  5. Refixing displaced guard stones, White washing guard stones, parapets of CD works.
  6. Fixing disturbed caution board / Village Name board / Speed limit board, etc.
  7. White washing and Geroo painting of trunks of trees.
  8. Cutting of branches of trees etc obstructing flow of traffic and line of sight, and cleaning wild growth on berms.
  9. Topping of W.B.M. blindage including picking of loose metal.
  10. Maintenance of catch water drains.
  11. Clearance and desilting of cross drains.
  12. Making up the loss of profile (for gravel roads).
  13. Rectifying Corrugated Surface (for gravel and WBM Roads).
  14. Filling up local depressions, ruts, potholes and erosion control (for gravel and WBM Roads).
  15. Regravelling (for gravel roads).
  16. Repairing damaged edges (for WBM).
  17. Rectifying revelled surface (for WBM).
  18. Periodic surface renewal (for WBM).
  19. Painting of Km & Hecto stones, Logo & Sign Boards

As per PMGSY guidelines, the cost estimation of routine maintenance is required to be done at the time of preparation of DPRs, as such the estimates of every work shall be prepared in two parts. The first part of the estimate will cover construction of road, CDs and related works and the second part shall cover the estimates of routine maintenance for five years calculated separately for each year after the completion of work. Based on estimation of work to be carried out every year, a lump-sum amount will be worked out for every work every year and this lump-sum amount will be put into the BOQ at the time of tendering. The contractor will be required to quote rates in Lump sum only, for every year.

The estimates for routine maintenance shall be based on actual estimated requirements calculated on the basis of actual experience of routine maintenance of similar types of roads existing in similar conditions in the State. Norms for working out quantities of various items of maintenance activities shall not be lower than the norm prescribed in Annexure 14.4. The specifications of items of routine maintenance shall be as per “Specification of Rural Roads”-IRC, Aug-2004 and analysis of rates shall be based on the Standard Data Book.

14.5.2 Annexure 14.1 lists out these works and their periodicity. Annexure 14.5 gives the Guidelines for inspection of Rural Roads as part of maintenance activity.

14.5.3 Recognising that the present need for upgrading the Through Routes primarily arises out due to inadequate investments in planned and systematic routine maintenance and periodic renewal, maintenance of the assets created under the PMGSY, particularly the Through Routes should be given the priority it requires.

As such, for Through Routes the construction /upgradation part of which was funded out of PMGSY, as addition to the 5-year contracted routine maintenance at the end of this period, a Zonal Contract will be entered into, covering all the Through Routes in the District which have received PMGSY investments in that batch. The batch Zonal Contract would comprise an initial surface renewal on the Through Routes followed by 5- year of routine maintenance. The funding of the maintenance part will continue to be the responsibility of the State Governments.


The DPIU is the authority for managing the maintenance contract for five years after completion of the construction of the road. For facilitating the maintenance operations, each road should be divided into Km stretches, and each Km should be sub-divided into 200 metres sections. The Junior Engineer shall inspect each Km of the road at least once in a month. The Assistant Engineer shall inspect the road at least once in three months, and the Executive Engineer shall inspect the road at least once in six months. One of the inspections of the Executive Engineer shall be before the monsoons and one after the monsoons.

During the above inspections, the Contractor’s engineer shall be present. All defects such as potholes, berms needing dressing, clearing of road side drains and weeds, cross-drainage works and repairs for Road furniture should be identified, recorded and intimated to the Contractor. The supervisory staff shall ensure that the repairs are carried out as per specifications with due regard to quality control. Painting, whitewashing, colour washing of road furniture items at the specified periodicity must be got done through the Contractor. All maintenance work shall be noted in a checklist in the routine inspection card attached with Annexure 14.6. A maintenance log book for each road under the Contract package shall be maintained. The date(s) of inspection, defect and deficiencies noticed during each inspection (recorded in the proforma of Annexure 14.6) and whether defects have been rectified or not shall also be recorded in the log book. The rectification of defects can be marked in different colour on to the routine Inspection Card (Annexure 14.6) for easy reference. Maintenance

The DPIU shall verify every time the Contractor submits his bill whether the defects noted during the inspections have been rectified. If the Contractor has failed to carry out an item of work ordered, the DPIU shall withhold the payment of the bill in that month.


14.7.1 PMGSY roads are designed for a 10 year life. If quality of construction, proper maintenance and periodic renewal is ensured, subject to traffic considerations, PMGSY roads can give continued service provided maintenance is continued.

Para 17.1 of the PMGSY guidelines require the State Government to build up the capacity in the District Panchayats to maintain Rural Roads and to devolve funds and functionaries on to the Panchayats in order to be able to manage maintenance contracts for Rural Roads. To this end, PIUs may function as the technical agency to operationally manage the contracts, with the District Panchayat approving the contracting out of maintenance on a Zonal basis by prioritising the road works within the maintenance budget allocation. To enable this to be done, the PIU may:

  1. Prepare and submit to the SRRDA and the District Panchayat a detailed annual estimate of funds for proper maintenance of the Rural Core Network;
  2. Apply a prioritisation criteria developed at SRRDA level Fig. 14.1 for allocation of the budgeted maintenance funds. The criteria would be based on the Pavement Condition Index (PCI) giving weightage to conditions like traffic and population. It is expected that Rural Through Routes would secure higher priority for maintenance funding.


The SRRDA shall implement a simplified Rural Road Maintenance system, which consists of a road condition survey (based on simple visual inspection), which yields a Pavement Condition Index (PCI). The flow chart for such a system is shown in Fig. 14.1.


Annexure 14.7 gives the Methodology for determining the Pavement Condition Index (PCI).

The PCI data is an integral part of the OMMS and the data will be included in the “Road Master” for each kilometre. The PCI data collected as per Annexure 14.7 will be entered in the OMMS data base by the PIU and a District wise output generated, copy of which will be furnished to the State Road Development Agency. Another copy will be supplied to the STAs for record. The proforma is given in Annexure 14.8

The OMMS software will incorporate provisions which enable selection of roads for upgradation from the shortlist on the basis of the PCI.

The States shall get the PCI survey of the Core Network conducted once in 2 years immediately after the rainy season. Costs not exceeding Rs. 50 per km (except road lengths constructed under PMGSY for which PCI of 5 will be used) will be allowed for getting the PCI survey done and Rs. 10 per road for completing the Road Master in the OMMS (including surface nature, surface condition, population and facilities linked etc.). The PCI survey will be repeated every 2 years and prioritisation of roads for upgradation and or maintenance shall be redrawn accordingly.


Given the scarcity of maintenance funds, the basic principle governing the application of routine maintenance funds is that these should be applied to those roads whose maintenance is in the greater public interest (Core Network Through Routes which generally have much more traffic) and which are manageable at relatively low cost i.e., which are presently in good condition. Accordingly, Routine Maintenance Priority List (RMPL) will be prepared at District level based on the following.

  1. The roads will include all Through Routes (or main Rural links) already included in the Core Network, at a higher priority.

  2. The roads in each District will be ranked according to the Pavement Condition Index (PCI). Subject to the overall availability of funds, roads of progressively lower PCI will be uniformly taken up in all Districts for inclusion in the list. For this purpose abstract of District-wise length of roads of each PCI will be prepared and fund allotment done generally in ratio of the road lengths of the PCI classes to which maintenance funding is to be applied. For this purpose, each District may compile and make available to the budgeting centre the information as follows:

    PCI class Total length of TR/MRL Amount required for routine maintenance
  3. In case it is necessary a further sub-prioritisation will be done as follows on the basis of Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT) which will need to be applied only in case if all roads of a particular class cannot be taken up for maintenance given the scarcity of resources.

    PCI class Name of road Length AADT Amount required for routine maintenance
    Sub total for PCI
  4. Subject to earmarking of maintenance funds on project basis e.g., World Bank aided projects, PMGSY maintenance contracts, etc., the divisible pool of maintenance fund will be distributed among the Districts in ratio of the total length of roads of the priority classes being taken up for maintenance. For example, if the maintenance funds allow roads upto PCI 3 and above to be taken up (though the funds may not be adequate to take care of all roads of that PCI value and further categorisation on basis of ADT may need to be done) the total length of roads in each District upto value of PCI 3 would be worked out from the Core Network and maintenance funds would be divided in that ratio. Maintenance

  5. The District RMPL will be got verified on the ground on sample basis through the STAs and the NQM system before it is processed for further approvals.

  6. After the District RMPL is prepared and verified, it shall be placed before the District Panchayat for approval; thereafter it shall be vetted by the State level Standing Committee (SLSC).


The approved and vetted RMPL would be basis for undertaking routine maintenance. In order to operationalise the system, routine maintenance funds will need to be placed in a separate ‘Maintenance Fund’ with the State Autonomous Agency and the PIUs responsible for rural road construction activities would operate the Fund in a manner identical to the PMGSY programme fund.


Operations Manual for Rural Roads Routine maintenance operation will be carried out on the basis of maintainance prioritisation and taking into account the availability of funds with the State. However, it must be ensured that the execution of various maintenance activities is carried out as per “Specifications for Rural Roads”. States with a comprehensive Rural Road Maintenance System already in place may continue with the present practice in consultation with NRRDA.


Operations Manual for Rural Roads