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New road repair technique quick, inexpensive, says Mumbai civic body

Civic body to repair 1,032 roads for Rs351 crore using new method

mumbai Updated: Mar 21, 2017 13:10 IST
Chetna Yerunkar
Road scam
The quality of roads has been deteriorating over the past few years, though the civic body continues to spend crores of rupees to repair and maintain them.(HT File Phto)

Following reports that detailed glaring irregularities in road works carried out by civic contractors, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has said it will use a new method to rebuild and repair roads. The new method is not only cost-efficient, but does not require the road to be dug up, said civic officials.

BMC officials will also send show cause notices to all 10 contractors who were named in the trial report in the second phase of the roads scam. These notices will bar them from bidding on any projects until the case is resolved.

The BMC plans to use the new technique to repair 1,032 roads for Rs351 crore. It will give contractors a two-year defect liability period (DLP) — the period in which contractors are responsible for the quality and maintenance of the roads they have built or repaired. The new technique, used by several other municipal corporations, is called ‘milling and carpeting’.

It involves scraping the top layer of roads, rather than demolishing them, and resurfacing them with asphalt. The civic body has decided to allot contracts worth Rs69 crore for the milling and carpeting of roads. This technique is time-saving and will not inconvenience residents much as roads will be shut for traffic for only a short time. Milling and carpeting a 1,200-sq-m stretch of road takes roughly 24 hours, said officials.

Road works worth Rs282 crore are also in the pipeline.

The quality of roads has been deteriorating over the past few years, though the civic body continues to spend crores of rupees to repair and maintain them.

Earlier, the civic body would reconstruct the entire road by digging about 1.5 feet deep. This involved transporting debris, an additional expense. This process not only burned holes in the administration’s pockets, but also resulted in roads with a DLP of just three years. After the road scam came to light, the civic body started looking for alternative ways to repair roads. The new method is cost-effective as it is the contractors’ responsibility to fund road repairs for two years.

“These roads will be long-lasting. Usually, it is the top level of roads that is bumpy. The new method will make roads smooth. Whereas road reconstruction is costly and requires permissions from the traffic police, this method is one-fifth the price and will be completed sooner as we do not require permissions,” said a senior roads department official.

Earlier, road contracts were issued under three categories. Each category required the road to be dug. Cement concrete roads were expected to last for 30 years and had a DLP of 10 years. Mastic asphalt roads had a DLP of 5 years. Asphalt roads had a DLP of 3 years. “Any road works which require digging will have to be appraised by the chief engineer. Only then will permission be given for the reconstruction of the entire road. A majority of the road works that we have planned fall under the ‘milling and carpeting’ category. About 70% of these new roads will last for two years,” said a senior civic official.

In the second phase of the probe, the BMC inspected 200 roads on which Rs1,000 crore had been spent.

It found that all were substandard. The report submitted to the civic chief Ajoy Mehta on Friday states that road works were undertaken by 16 contractors, of which six were blacklisted after the first inquiry and are currently facing police action, seven had carried out ‘below par’ work, while the work of the remaining three contractors was ‘tolerable’.

Similar to the initial report, the detailed probe report had alleged irregularities. For instance, the bottom layer, which is needed for roads to last longer, is missing in all 200 roads that were inspected.

Read

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