Within a month of the arrival of the monsoon, most roads have developed potholes and are falling apart. There are at least 6,000 potholes across 1,100 locations in the city.
The dismal state of roads has badly hit traffic movement, and commute time is worse then ever: It often takes double the time than it did before the monsoon.
Most of the arterial roads — the Eastern and Western Express Highways, SV Road, LBS Marg, Andheri-Kurla Road — are in a bad shape.
Clearly, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) annual budget of Rs 20,000 crore has not helped improve the roads. “The civic body is wasting public money. We face this problem every year,” said Nikhil Desai, a resident of King’s Circle.
So what’s going wrong?
“The fault lies in the construction. Contracts are given on the basis of influence, not quality,” said a civic engineer, requesting anonymity.
Nandkumar Salvi, a former BMC official, said there’s only one solution: Improve construction quality. “The BMC has good specifications but that should be followed and supervised,” he said, adding that action must be taken against errant contractors and supervisory staff.
The other fault is poor maintenance. “As long as politicians and bureaucrats are involved in allotting contracts, Mumbaiites should forget about good roads,” the engineer said. There are other problems, too. “Contractors don’t clear construction debris. As vehicles drive over it, small pebbles and material rub against the road and create small holes, which eventually become potholes,” a BMC road engineer said, on condition of anonymity.
Officials insist that the 35 public utility services are equally responsible. “Utilities don’t refill trenches evenly and the road sinks as there is no proper holding material beneath,” the engineer said.“We will implement a ducting system so that roads need not be dug,” said Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner.
On Tuesday, Gupta admitted that roads are in a bad shape. “We received a report from officials sent to inspect roads that the condition is bad,” he said. “We have already spent Rs 26 crore filling potholes. As soon as there is a dry spell, we will start work.”
The civic road department’s report contradicts Gupta’s statement. It claims 889 locations have been attended to and 6,000 potholes filled. “The report is on paper. No work has been done in the past 10 days,” said an official, on condition of anonymity.
“We will fill the potholes on King’s Circle and Sion hospital flyovers once the rain eases,” said PRK Murthy from MMRDA, responsible for all flyovers.