Monsoon showers over the past one month have left the roads across South Delhi battered. Be it the arterial roads or internal colony lanes, the damage has been widespread. Major thoroughfares have become a nightmare for commuters. The problem doesn’t end here. Residents of several south Delhi localities have to wade across broken internal lanes where waterlogging is a common feature.
With the rains still on, the repair work can now commence only once the season is over. “We have not allocated any specific budget for the project but the work will start soon. Based on the requirement and condition of a stretch, we will carry the repair work,” an official from the Public Works Department (PWD) said.
In road construction, bitumen a sticky, black viscous mixture of hydrocarbons is used as a binder mixed with aggregate particles to create asphalt concrete. The roads that are constructed with bituminous material are supposed to be recarpeted after five years.
Most roads owned by the PWD were last recarpeted in 2010 in preparation of the Commonwealth Games. The department now plans to start the process to sanction a budget for dense recarpeting. “As soon as the tendering process is complete, work will start on important roads including Mathura Road, Ring Road and Outer Ring Road,” a senior PWD official said.
Officials said most of these roads were damaged due to large-scale construction undertaken by the Delhi Metro and other agencies like the Delhi Jal Board and power discoms. Residents, on the other hand, claim that due to poor maintenance even small faults become critical. “Failure to meet technicalities in the process of constructing roads is the main reason behind the frequent damaging of roads in India,” said Ashwani Mehta, who was associated with the World Bank-funded road projects. According to him, the ‘Proctor Compaction Test’ a method of experimentally determining the optimal moisture content at which a given soil type will become most dense and achieve its maximum dry density is really important while laying the initial layer of the soil at the road. “But agencies avoid such test to save time. Moreover the bitumen is often adulterated and mixed with kerosene or diesel due to which it loses it strength. No proper sloping of roads and lack of drainage system adds to the damage,” he said.
From Ashram Chowk to Sarita Vihar underpass, the road is damaged badly at five to six points. To avert these damaged portions, riders break lanes on this stretch, disrupting the traffic flow as well as causing accidents. One such point is near New Friends Colony Club.
A few metres away, near Centre for Road Research Institute complex, the road remains flooded even when it is not raining. “This is due to leakage in the main water supply line which has deteriorated the condition of the road. While monsoons are a bad time for city roads, continuous water leakage adds to the problem,” said Abhimanyu Dikshit, a resident of Bharat Nagar.
Similarly the arterial road between Apollo Hospital and near Jasola Apollo Metro station is in a shambles. “The road has been damaged for two years. Potholes appeared near the Metro station, forcing people to walk on the wrong side,” said Sushil Kumar, a resident of Sarita Vihar.
Road No 13 A (connecting Noida, Okhla)
The slip road connecting Mathura Road to Road no 13 A has seen an improvement as the road and pavements have been carpeted. But as one travels ahead, the situation deteriorates. The road near DLF Tower, the entrance to Jasola Vihar and near the commercial complex is full of potholes. Even slight showers leave the entire area flooded. The waterlogging makes it impossible for drivers to locate potholes leading to accidents. Besides the main road, the service lane is also in tatters. “The deep trench between the service and main road leads to massive jams even during non peak hours. The trench slows down the speed of vehicles. It seems the road owning agency isn’t serious about repairing it,” said Narendra Chauhan, a resident of Jasola Vihar. The stretch is damaged till Shaheen Bagh.
The road belongs to PWD and was constructed five years ago. A PWD official said, “We will visit the site soon and take appropriate action.”
Mehrauli Gurgaon Road
The road surface has been worn out near Chhatarpur Metro Station and traffic signal. Though the road has been uneven and broken for a long time, the recent rains have further deteriorated it. “The bituminous layer has been eroded, making it difficult for motorists to control the vehicle’s speed,” said a bike rider from Saket who added that the steep depressions make it more difficult for motorcycle riders to travel during monsoon.
MB Road (near Said-ul-Ajaib)
Motorists face a tough time on the potholed stretch as repairs here have been going on for more than a year. It takes more than 20 minutes to cross this less-than-a kilometre stretch, starting from Saket Metro station till Mehrauli. Following a drive by SDMC last year, all kiosks and stalls encroaching upon the roadsides were removed. But, since then, the entire road opposite the garden complex has been dug and is not levelled, disrupting traffic flow and increasing the risk of accidents.