The civic body is spending Rs 21 crore to rebuild a 1.8-km stretch of Napean Sea Road - probably the most expensive road repair project in the city. For the past one year, work has been going on, but with just four months left to meet the deadline, less than 50% of the work has been completed so far.
The budget for such work usually is not more than Rs 4 crore per km, but in this case, more than Rs 10 crore is being spent on one km. The reason: The stretch from St Stephen Church near Kemps Corner to J Mehta Road is frequently used by VIPs and ministers as it leads up to Malabar Hill, where the ministers’ bungalows are located.
After having drawn a lot of flak for the poor state of this road during the last two monsoons — ministers even raised the issue in Cabinet meetings and city guardian minister Jayant Patil inspected the road and directed the BMC to improve it — the BMC has decided to spare no expense. It is using the ‘mechanised mastic asphalt technology’, in which instead of laying road material manually, it is laid by machine. Justifying the expenditure, an official from the road department said: “It is a costly technology, which will keep the road pothole-free for five years.”
Half of the money — around Rs 10 crore — is being spent on shifting utilities such as water pipelines and storm water drains along the roadside, said civic officials.