10 worst rain-hit roads in Mumbai this monsoon

It’s been three weeks since the skies opened up over the city, and the time is right to test the truth behind the assurances of good roads and complete pre-monsoon repairs which were passed around by the authorities before the season’s first rain.

The BMC had allocated Rs 1,275 crore in the budget for the year 2012-13 for repair, reconstruction and rebuild of roads and bridges in the city.

MiD DAY visited 10 troublesome stretches of road in the city before it started pouring, to see what was in store for commuters and pedestrians. We returned to these spots after they faced a good lashing from the rains. We weren’t happy with what we saw.

Near Kanjurmarg railway station, opposite Huma Adlabs
Connects: To LBS Road

Before the monsoon
The road was full of potholes, one of which spanned over a metre in length. Motorists have been complaining about waterlogging during rains for years, and yet no preventative measures were taken before the monsoons. The stretch is used daily by employees to reach their firms in Powai.

How it looks now
Emerging from the station, one is met with a sea of potholes, interspersed with patches of road. The rains have filled these potholes with water. Passing auto rickshaws inadvertently spray water on commuters as they drive past. It is monsoon mayhem at its worst.

Vishnu Satheesh

The people have now become accustomed to the deplorable condition of this road. Even though it is repaired, the potholes return in days. We can’t wait anymore. We want the work to be done before the rains return.

Satish Pandey
Many employees working at Powai use this stretch daily. The road has been like this for more than a month. The people are very disappointed. The BMC should take action.

Dr Rajendra Prasad Road, Mulund (East), behind McDonald’s
Connects: Mulund railway station and LBS Marg

Before the monsoon
The stretch was ridden with potholes, each about 2.5 metres in length. Traffic jams were a frequent phenomenon. The area bears the load of traffic coming in from Thane, and snarls are frequent.

How it looks now
Things went from bad to worse, thanks to the formation of a huge depression near the bus stop. Rainwater has accumulated in this crevasse, making it difficult to negotiate

Sandeep Sonawane
It’s been more than a week that the road has been like this. Pedestrians and motorists alike are suffering because of this. The BMC has not bothered to repair the area and I fear that once it starts raining again which it soon will, the stretch will become even worse.

Abhishek Thakker, commuter on Navghar Road
I travel on this road every day. Every year the BMC promises that they will make Mumbai pothole-free. It’s time they stopped joking with us.

Pumpnaka, LBS Marg in Ghatkopar, a little ahead of R City Mall
Connects: The stretch is on the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road that connects Mulund, Thane and Hiranandani Hospital

Before the monsoon
The stretch was riddled with potholes that, commuters claim, lead to frequent accidents and traffic congestion. The largest pothole in the stretch measured about 1.5 metre in length.

How it looks now
The road immediately outside the Indian Oil pump station is full of potholes brimming with dirty, muddy water. The pavements have been dislodged at several spots, resulting in large pits, which are also full of water. The displaced paver blocks have been making it difficult for auto drivers to manoeuvre their vehicles.

Rishi Amarsingh, a daily commuter
I don’t understand why they dig the roads for their work and then forget to reassemble them. Some people come and work twice in a year and do some wiring, but the condition becomes bad again very soon.

Sanmesh Sapkal, a daily commuter
Being a daily traveller from LBS Marg, the potholes have always been a problem for me. During rains, the road is filled with water. The road isn’t always visible, leading to a lot of accidents. The BMC should take action before the condition worsens.

At Chembur, RC Marg, near Swami Vivekanand Chowk, below the Monorail
Connects: RCF Colony and Sindhi Colony; goes on till BPT Road

Before the monsoon
A rough patch about 3.1 metre long and 2.7 metre wide was left untended following the Monorail construction. The rest of the stretch was patchy as well. Accumulation of rainwater was the chief problem. Many complaints were registered with the ward office and roads department.

How it looks now
RC Marg has heavy traffic throughout the day. Displaced paver blocks and potholes now mar the stretch. The stretch immediately next to Swami Vivekananda Chowk is full of small stones, the result of erosion from rainwater. The incessant movement of heavy traffic on this busy stretch makes things worse. Paver blocks have been displaced at regular intervals.

Aniket Rao, resident
I have been living here for long, and for the past three years I have been seeing the road in the same poor condition. It is the worst experience travelling on this route. No one is bothered to make it better.

Payal Pansare, a daily commuter
It is a really bumpy ride, thanks to the potholes. I find it very difficult to maintain my car. These potholes are costing me a fortune. I just hope that the BMC looks into this and makes travel easy.

What were you doing the entire year, Mr Gupta?
Additional Municipal Commissioner Aseem Gupta, who is in charge of roads in the city, said, “There is no denying the fact that the pre-monsoon work was incomplete and the early rains made it difficult for us to prepare well for the monsoon.

Aseem Gupta
Additional Municipal Commissioner, Aseem Gupta, who is in charge of roads in the city

This is why some patches still remain or might have grown deeper. We will check on this and get it repaired soon. The problem is that we cannot repair potholes while it is raining. So we have to wait for the rains to stop. When that happens our work on pothole repair will start.”

MMRDA says
MMRDA Executive Engineer A N Bhasme said, “We have already done the repairing of potholes on the 11.07-km stretch passing under the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar (VAG) Metro before the monsoon. However, if there are any potholes on the stretch, we will repair them at the earliest.” Asked about the waterlogging in parts of JP Road and the Andheri Ghatkopar Link Road, he said, “Some storm water drains have been diverted because of ongoing construction. Once the Metro construction is complete this problem will be sorted out and there won’t be any waterlogging next year. At many spots, we have also de-silted the nullahs.” 

Gandhinagar Road, Kurar Village, Malad (East)
Connects: Kandivli to Goregaon via highway

Before the monsoon
A roughly 1.8x1.4 sq m patch on the road lay unleveled. BEST buses, trucks, auto rickshaws and vehicles use the road. Left unattended for long, the streetlights aren’t functional. The road splits in three directions. Accidents were frequent owing to poor diversion planning and visibility.

How it looks now
The rains have made things go from bad to worse. A deep pothole on the stretch forces truck drivers to slow down. The pothole is located near shops, and whenever a heavy vehicle passes, these shops are sullied with muddy water.

Mohammad Ali, resident
This road is not wide enough to accommodate two vehicles coming in from opposite sides. To add to this, when a large part of the road is damaged, you can just imagine what problems people face. Waterlogging is also a big problem.

Prem Soneji
I have my shop in this area. I travel almost five times daily via Gandhinagar Road. Every year it is the same story. The BMC promises to fix things, but the promises are never kept. Traffic is a major issue in this area, and potholes are to be blamed for all this.

Juhu-Vile Parle Development Scheme (JVPD) near Criti Care hospital
Connects: Andheri Link Road to SV Road and the Barfiwala flyover

Before the monsoon
The pothole in JVPD was gigantic, spanning 3.5 metres in length. The road witnesses heavy traffic as it connects to the east-west bridge on one side and Lokhandwala on the other. The potholes have been known to cause bikes to slip in the area. The cemented parts of the road were totally broken.

How it looks now
As the pothole is quite deep, water accumulates in and around it whenever it rains. Commuters are unable to gauge the depth of the undulation, causing bike accidents. The dimensions of the pothole have increased after the rains.

Meenal Rathod, daily commuter from JVPD Road

The area is filled with huge potholes. All the junctions there are badly thought out, making travel a nightmare. I don’t think the BMC will do anything.

Narain Sugand, daily commuter
I have to travel on this bumpy road twice every day. I don't understand if the BMC is serious about development. Every year crores are spent on contracts to level the surface of the road, but the common man still faces problems.

Connects: Andheri (East) to Kurla

Before the monsoon
The road was full of potholes, the largest being 2.8 metre long and a metre wide. This is one of the busiest stretches of Mumbai, as the road leads to Kurla, Ghatkopar and the international airport.

How it looks now
The large pothole is now filled with water, making it difficult to negotiate for travellers.

Ghulam Ansari, shop owner

I am here for two years and have seen this road in the same condition. Many times the road is dug for utility lines, and not leveled properly after the work. The situation is worse in the monsoon

Roshan Jaiswal
I travel daily via Marol naka. The road near the metro rail construction is full of potholes. In the monsoons it is not possible to ride my bike on
this stretch.

What experts suggested
Narayan Merani, who headed the BMC’s Merani Committee until recently, said, “There are many attributes like undulations, potholes and cracks that lead to unevenness in roads. On the basis of these attributes, roads can be classified as very badly damaged or badly damaged and so on. The repairs being carried out should be done on the basis of the severity of these attributes and not just on random selection. Rating a road before repairing it is important because it helps in prioritising.”

Speaking on the state of roads in Mumbai during the monsoon, he added, “The main reason for the deplorable condition is that BMC officials only change the top surface of the roads, which is a temporary improvement. The amount of money allocated for this purpose is large and they should focus on permanent repairs after proper scientific investigations.”

Merani also added that concretising important roads is a good idea, especially those that experience heavy vehicular movement. “It is expensive, but makes the road strong. Paver blocks should only be used on minor roads. With paver blocks, work is completed faster. So they can also be used at junctions where two or more roads meet, as these roads cannot be closed for a long time. They can also be used on minor roads. The focus should be on preventive maintenance of roads, so that frequent repairs are not required.”

Cardinal Gracious Road, Chakala
Connects: M V Road and Guru Gobind Road

Before the monsoon
The road had a gaping pothole, 4.2 metre in length and 1.8 metre wide. A sign alerted drivers to drive around it.

How it looks now
The intersection is now riddled with potholes, one of them submerged in water and therefore invisible to motorists.

Nandkishor Shukla, taxi driver said

I am driving taxis for long and ply on this route daily. In the past few months I have seen the condition of the stretch deteriorate. It has many potholes and is uneven. I have not seen any work being done on it to make it better

Viren Vesuwala, daily commuter from Cardinal Gracious Road, Chakala
Potholes are a menace; it becomes really difficult during monsoons. The BMC should fill them up as soon as possible

Money for nothing
A budgetary provision of R1,700 crore was earmarked by the BMC for the year 2013-2014. The budget provision for 2012-2013 almost lapsed, with no work done for almost a year. Around 29,000 complaints were received by the roads department in 2012-2013 alone. This year, the complaints have already crossed the 1,000 figure, in the 10 days that passed after the activation of the pothole tracking system.

-- (Neha Tripathi, Tanvi Shinde, Sujith Sudhakaran, Iram Siddique, Apeksha Shrivastava, Mahalakshmi Subramanian, Mehul Thakkar)

Balwant Singh Dhodhi Marg, Dockyard railway station
Connects: Dockyard station to JJ Hospital. Along the road are various schools, colleges and hospitals.

Before the monsoon
A gaping pothole three metres in length across Dockyard Road made it an obstacle course for motorists. The road ends at a junction, which was extremely uneven. The entire length of the junction had dislodged paver blocks, making rides on the road bumpy.

How it looks now
Concrete interspersed with patches of paver blocks makes the road extremely uneven. The concrete around the sewage openings have been eroded. Holes on the surface of P D'Mello Road have widened owing to the rains. Constant traffic on the stretch has only made them wider. The paver blocks have also sunk, creating a depression in the middle of Balwant Singh Dhodi Marg.

Alifiya Gittham, resident of Dockyard Road

Nesbit Road has a number of schools, colleges and hospitals located along it length. It also houses the Mazgaon court. Yet, it is neglected.

Taha Sayyed, daily commuter from Balwant Singh Dhodi Marg
Potholes have always been a problem here and during rains it just gets worst. I don’t have any expectation from the BMC as it is the same every year. It feels like potholes have become a part of my life.

Slater Road, Grant Road
Connects: Grant Road station to Mumbai Central. There is an important bus depot on Slater Road.

Before the monsoon
The road had small potholes at frequent intervals. The road was uneven, rising high and sinking low within metres. A futile attempt to fill the potholes by the BMC seemed to have left a prominent mark.

How it looks now
The stretch immediately outside Grant Road station is a combination of concrete and paver blocks. The irregular use of paver blocks has made the stretch uneven. Many of them have been disloged by the rains, causing pits that fill up with water even when it rains lightly.

Tinaz Bhamgara, resident of Slater Road

High areas like Malabar Hill lie nearby, and all the water runs down the slops and accumulates in our area. Due to the potholes, minor accidents take place often here. Instead of wasting money on the skywalks which are hardly used, the government should invest in making the road better.

Chandrakant sangle, commuter
For the past 10 years, the roads get terrible during the monsoon. Thanks to potholes, traffic is a major issue. BMC levels the surface of the road, but the potholes return.  

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