Despite the old ways failing consistently, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) seems to be averse to trying innovations by civic engineers.
Here are two examples: Vishal Thombare, an assistant engineer, developed ultra-thin white topping (UTWT) technology in 2009, while assistant municipal commissioner Sharad Ugade came up with the idea of using rubberised mastic asphalt.
The UTWT method involves layering the cold mix asphalt used to fill potholes with best quality concrete (around six inches in thickness). The layer is less porous and develops high strength within 48 hours. The road is durable for at least 15 years and don’t need much maintenance. The civic body has built roads in Mulund and Chembur using UTWT and they are in good condition.
An engineer from the road department said, “Contractors will be caught immediately if they use substandard material while filling potholes, as cracks will appear on the surface.”
In case of rubberised mastic asphalt, powdered rubber tyres are added to asphalt to increase the lifespan of the road. The rubber powder holds the mixture together and reduces the chances of potholes. Rubberised mastic asphalt has been used on a road in Dadar and will be used in Bandra too. “The road in Dadar is in good condition. The technology should be used widely,” said Sandeep Deshpande, MNS group leader.
The BMC also bought three Jetpatcher machines at a cost of Rs3 crore for the island city, western suburbs and eastern suburbs. The machine can be used to fill potholes within hours – by pouring hot mix asphalt into a pothole and flattening the surface using the machine. The authorities have, however, been refraining from using it owing to the cost of operation and maintenance.
The Thane Municipal Corporation, however, is using the machine and the result has been good.
Sanjay Deshmukh, additional municipal commissioner, said, “I am not aware of UTWT technology and Ugade is yet to update me on the status of Bandra road where his technology was used. If the results are good, we will consider it.”