Here's why Mumbai currently looks like one big 'Work in Progress': civic body has finally woken up to what the motorist always knew: paver blocks are a bad idea and need to be removed
Paver blocks, the bane of motorists in the city, will soon be gone. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has now decided to make the city completely free of paver blocks. The civic body took the decision after citizens have been complaining for many years about the nightmare they cause.
Officials said the first phase of removal of paver blocks would be completed by April 15, and work would restart post-monsoon. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
The first phase of the war on paver blocks began six months ago. According to a BMC official, the corporation has started to remove paver blocks on 50 minor roads and 10 major roads in island city, including Dharavi main road.
Lalbaug: Kalachowki. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
Furthermore, work has also begun in the Western suburbs, at 26 minor and 10 major roads, including Ram Mandir road and Gokhale Road in Kandivli and Kasturba Road in Borivli.
Matunga: Maheshwari Udyan. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
In the Eastern suburbs, blocks are being removed from over 27 roads, including major and minor ones like Kanjur Village Road and Mahul Road in Mahul gaon. Officials said the first phase of removal of current paver blocks would be completed by April 15, and work would restart post-monsoon. The blocks are being replaced by tar and cement roads.
V N Purav Marg: Near TISS, Deonar depot. Pic/Suresh KK
Paver blocks first made an appearance way back in 1996, when the BMC used them to beautify a footpath. But the focus then was largely on repairing roads, and, hence, the project didn’t take off on a large scale. They were first used in 2002 for a road junction by former chief engineer of the civic roads department, D D Naik.
Matunga: King’s Circle flyover. Pic/Suresh KK
Naik had used paver blocks on the Marol-Maroshi road junction upon recommendation from former civic chief Karun Srivastav. “This experiment was successful as the blocks were surrounded by a cement road that increased its sustainability. Also, vehicles at the junction slow down and, hence, it does not harm the blocks in the long run.
Bhandup (West). Pic/Datta Kumbhar
Putting paver blocks at a junction takes four days, while constructing a cement road takes four months. Thus, this concept was viable,” Naik said. Naik said ward officers then started using the blocks for city roads, which ultimately couldn’t take the load and people started complaining.
Ghatkopar (West): C G S colony. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
Ghatkopar (East): Babli Mahadev Konekar Lane. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
He added, “The concept of paver blocks was not for roads, but only for major junctions that used to get flooded during monsoons. BMC has set standards for construction of cement or tar roads, but no such thing exists for paver blocks. Hence, paver blocks used on city roads now do not sustain for a longer period.”
Citizens have always objected to the use of paver blocks, which get dislodged and prove to be dangerous for two-wheelers, apart from making the ride bumpy and back-breaking. Archana Acharekar, deputy chief engineer, Western suburbs, said, “We have been receiving complaints related to paver blocks since the past six months.
Hence, we have started removing them and converting roads into tar and cement roads.” In addition, Ashok Pawar, chief Engineer, roads and traffic, said, “Paver blocks would be only used in narrow lanes where a road roller is unable to enter. We have started removing paver blocks from roads where they have been placed more than three years ago.”
Officials also added that constructing a paver block road costs more as compared to making a tar road. It must be noted that this applies to only roads which are under the BMC. There are some roads under the Public Works Department, MSRDC, and MMRDA as well.
The cost of constructing one square metre of road with paver blocks
Cost of constructing the same distance of tar road