Faced with public outcry and criticism over the pathetic condition of the city roads, the civic body has decided to speed up the project of a common duct for all underground utilities.
Municipal commissioner Subodh Kumar cleared the project two weeks ago.
A common utility duct is a structure above or below the ground that carries multiple types of public utility lines. Once in place, to repair or lay new lines, only the duct needs to be opened.
Currently, there are at least 37 types of underground utilities that run under the city’s roads, including lines for gas, telephone, cable, water and sewage lines. So, every time there is a fault in your telephone or gas connection, the road has to be dug up for repair work
Before the monsoon, various agencies had dug up 439 km of the 1,900 km roads managed by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for utility repair work. Roads, once dug up are shoddily repaired, which is one of the main reasons for the poor state of the roads.
Moving utilities to the duct will do away with the frequent digging, and cause less damage to the roads. “After a sub-committee of the Standing Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) gave us designs and guidelines, we discussed it with the commissioner and he cleared the plan,” said Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner, adding that since it is a huge project, it will be done in phases.
“We will start ducting on roads that are being redone, after the monsoon,” a BMC roads department official said. However, water mains and sewage lines will not be shifted as shifting them would disrupt connections. “We will now call for Expressions of Interest and ask for designs,” the official said.
Over the years, agencies have built ducts for 10 to 12 roads in the city. A member of the STAC said the BMC should first shift the utilities running under those roads to the ducts on a pilot basis.