It is indeed a traumatic experience for road users in Mumbai city. Even the highways are having potholes and that hamper the traffic. Traffic snarls are seen on focal points and the Sion-Panvel highway suffered the most. CBD Belapur Bridge was a bottleneck in the past for the expressway travellers and with potholes and craters, the position has become bad to worse. Motorists were caught unaware and the five-hour jam saw a long queue of vehicles on the street. Instead of that, completion of the repair work can be done during night hours and that too in a phased manner.
If the condition of the bridges is so bad, then the plain roads in the city look pathetic with full of potholes. Potholes pose a problem for the two-wheelers, while the four-wheelers are troubled with craters. With water filled in all the potholes, manoeuvring the vehicles is a herculean task for the drivers. Thus the pothole blues continue and the pain undertaken by both the drivers and the pedestrians is horrible. BMC is cutting a sorry figure as their rain readiness promise has gone to the winds. The potholes woes will continue for two more months till the end of monsoon rains. It is now or never situation and a wakeup call for the BMC.
The appearance of numerous potholes on Mumbai roads has become a regular monsoon phenomenon for more than a couple of decades. What is strange is the fact that some 25 years ago and before that, these pockmarks were totally unheard of. What was the technology used for road construction at those times, and where does it stands now. If the relevant science has made advances by leaps and bounds, we should have been riding on smooth, flat and even road surfaces, irrespective of the time of the year. Now we find the position rather precarious and road accidents due to potholes have become a regular routine.
It is notable that pothole problem is giving the road users torrid time and there were several methods followed to make the roads in perfect conditions. During the monsoon season, these potholes give way due to moisture and there is traffic jam due to resultant accidents at focal points. The state government and the road contractors have tried all the time-tested methods to plug the loopholes and find an amicable solution. Even levying penalty on road contractors did not yield result as they continue to extend poor road work despite warnings issued to them in the past. Now BMC has done research and found out its own pothole mix at Worli plant to fix the potholes in a record time. This will definitely reduce the cost of the mix drastically and provide the best solution in repairing the pot-holes in record time through the quick fix measures. This is a good initiative taken by the BMC and this will definitely give better result in getting better roads in Mumbai. The initiative taken by the BMC with German firm is a right step in the right direct direction.
The roads in Mumbai city is going from bad to worse day by day. The taxpayers money is spent on road development in Mumbai but the roads are giving away within a short span of 2 to 3 months resulting in potholes all over the roads in the city. It appears that only concrete roads can give a permanent solution to the problems prevailing road construction. The roads of our city are being put to great pressure and a very few of them manage to stand the strain. In the light of this BMC should plan in such a way concrete roads are laid in all the focal points of the city and by the year ending 2015, all the roads should be made of concrete to reduce the cost factor. We all look forward to the alternative of concrete roads as the panacea to avoid frequent repairs to roads in this pocket. It would be a long-term solution but a permanent one to the people using the roads in the city. The advantages of switching over to concrete roads are many.
Apart from their long life, they also save on fuel, provide for better driving comfort and use cement, a plentifully available commodity in the country. Maintenance costs are also lower. Concrete Roads have a small Green Advantage as well. Being white-topped they reflect light at night which means the intensity of street lighting can be brought down in terms of wattage. The main disadvantage is that bitumen roads will cost only one-fourth of what is the outlay for concrete roads. But more importantly, concrete roads require a long time period for laying and setting, as much as a month for one km stretch as compared to bitumen topped road that requires one fourth time. And during the time concrete roads are being laid the traffic will have to be completely closed, something that unthinkable in the city. Let us plan in such a way that the road users are not troubled much and the work related to laying concrete roads must be completed before the monsoon season.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)