HT Monsoon Audit: Smooth ride for now; real test ahead

  • Sanjana Bhalerao, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jun 09, 2016 11:21 IST
Experts say the road scam inquiry report, which led to suspension of two senior civic officers and blacklisting of contractors, has got the civic body to up its game this time around. (HT FILE)

Your drive on the city’s roads is set to be better this monsoon, as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has completed most of the repair work and is expected to deliver motorable streets to Mumbaiites.

However, the big question remains. Is the civic body’s work good enough for the roads to last the entire monsoon?

The BMC undertook repairs on 1,017 roads this year, of which work on 376 had spilled over from last year.

When HT’s expert panel, which assessed the city’s rain preparedness as part of the monsoon audit, visited six important link roads on June 3, they found that the roads were in better condition compared to last year.

“The road scam inquiry report, which led to suspension of two senior civic officers and blacklisting of contractors, has got the civic body to up its game this time around,” said the experts.

The problem with roads, however, surfaces after a few spells of rain. Over the years, it has been observed that roads start developing potholes after a couple of heavy showers. In several cases, the roads look perfect before the rains arrive, but turn out to be back-breaking for motorists later owing to sub-standard material used for construction.

The experts pointed out that although most of the road work looked in a “safe stage”, dislodged paver blocks near junctions, unfilled or shoddily reinstated trenches and uneven patches slapped across roads were a matter of concern.

For instance, at Babashaeb Ambedkar road (Dadar stretch, Gandhi market area), which is one of the chronic flooding spots, the panelists found heaps of debris still lying unused below the flyover, blocking the smooth flow of traffic. “The repair work is in its last leg and BMC has done a good job. But the lack of post-work maintenance will cost them dear during the monsoon,” said James John, AGNI coordinator, one of the panelists.

At VN Purav Marg, Chunabhatti, the panelists noticed loose paver blocks and uneven stretches. Similar was the case at the Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road, which begins from the Eastern Express Highway junction at Ghatkopar and ends at Mankhurd. It is an important stretch since it goes on to connect the Eastern Freeway to the central suburbs. Experts found the service road in a bad shape. However, the concretisation work of the main road, which began two years ago, was properly completed.

Another problem the panel highlighted was the delay in completion of road repair work. Work at the Sion-Mahim Link Road, which is the east-west connector and witnesses heavy traffic during peak hours, was incomplete. The reconstruction of the bridge near Dharavi 90-Feet Road leaves the road narrower, creating bottlenecks. The work has been ongoing for more than three years.

The BMC on its part has launched a mobile application for citizens to lodge pothole-related complaints.

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