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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

Potholes, water logging continue to slow down Delhi traffic during monsoon

Senior traffic officials said reminders are sent to civic agencies to fill potholes and complete road repair work by May so that there is ample time for the asphalt and other construction material to dry up and settle before rains.

delhi Updated: Aug 17, 2019 02:13 IST
Soumya Pillai and Ashish Mishra
Soumya Pillai and Ashish Mishra
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Data maintained by Delhi Traffic Police shows that in May, 52 complaints of traffic jams caused by potholes were reported on their helpline. In June, the number of complaints rose to 85 and in July it touched 109.
Data maintained by Delhi Traffic Police shows that in May, 52 complaints of traffic jams caused by potholes were reported on their helpline. In June, the number of complaints rose to 85 and in July it touched 109.(HT Photo)
         

It is that time of the year when vast swathes of Delhi’s roads get filled with ankle-deep to knee-deep water after frequent rain, because of which commuting gets difficult and traffic movement slows down. Potholes and dug-up roads add to the problem and become a safety concern for commuters.

Delhi Traffic Police officials said despite repeated requests to civic and road-owning agencies to complete all road repair before the onset of monsoon, 246 complaints about traffic snarls caused by potholes and road repairing were filed by citizensbetween May and July.

Senior traffic officials said reminders are sent to civic agencies to fill potholes and complete road repair work by May so that there is ample time for the asphalt and other construction material to dry up and settle before rains.

“Water logging is a major reason for traffic reason snarls during monsoon. What makes the situation worse are potholes, which are often hidden by water.There have been cases of commuters meeting with major accidents because they have not been able to ascertain the depth of the crater,” said a senior official.

Data maintained by Delhi Traffic Police shows that in May, 52 complaints of traffic jams caused by potholes were reported on their helpline. In June, the number of complaints rose to 85 and in July it touched 109.

The public works department (PWD)—which manages 1,260 kms of Delhi’s roads—had conducted a survey early this year and found 2,250 potholes on roads in their jurisdiction.

“We had filled all potholes on our roads by July, except at places where civic work was already under way. Even in areas where roads are dug up, we have taken safety precautions by barricading areas around under-construction sites,” said a PWD official, who did not wish to be named.

The official said the department refrains from giving permission for road-cutting to utility agencies during monsoon months, because other than causing traffic and water logging problems, chances of road cave-ins also increase during this time.

Giving an example of how everyday commute is affected by the apathy of road-owning agencies, Sushil Kumar, president of Dwarka Forum, a citizens’ forum, said a large section of the road has sunk at the foot of the Dwarka flyover while entering the sub-city. This 50-metre stretch slows down traffic, with tailbacks continuing till the Sadar Bazar Cantonment Metro station.

“When water accumulates on the roads, we are unable to see potholes and often end up getting stuck. This is a major safety issue. We have raised it with several government agencies but no action has followed,” Kumar said.

According to the ministry of road, transport and highways, as many as 6,424 road accidents due to potholes claimed 2,324 lives across India in 2016.

In 2017, a senior citizen died when his two-wheeler met with an accident, allegedly after hitting a pothole, at Civil Lines in north Delhi.

In August 2017, in another case, a school teacher died after she was run over by a speeding water tanker in outer Delhi’s Kanjhawala village as the scooter she was pillion riding lost control after hitting a waterlogged pothole.

Last year, the Supreme Court had expressed concern over the high number of pothole deaths, calling it “unacceptable”. The bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur said the large number of deaths caused due to potholes was “probably more than those killed on border or by the terrorists”.

First Published: Aug 16, 2019 23:45 IST