Forget potholes, trenches now line Mumbai's arterial roads

As BMC digs up key routes to replace old pipelines with new ones, respite is nowhere in sight for harried motorists, who must brave through excavations in various parts of the city

It’s been more than three weeks since mid-day reported how potholes in western suburbs were giving road users a rough ride, and little has changed.

Only one road in Santacruz, which was one among the rutted four we had focused on, has been evened out; the others hang on to their potholes. In fact, rather than alleviation, expect an aggravation of the problem on some of the city’s arterial routes, as the BMC has started replacing pipelines.

Work has started on the northbound stretch of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Road, near Dadar flyover, even as portions of service road in Andheri (East) along the WEH are being dug up, frustrating motorists. At CST, work on replacing storm water drains is forcing traffic to flow one way.

Service road along WEH near Andheri
The BMC has also started laying pipelines on the south-bound service road along WEH near the pump house area in Andheri (E).

The service road in Andheri is hardly of any service to commuters
The service road in Andheri is hardly of any service to commuters

The road is already narrow and the ongoing work only knots up the traffic some more during morning peak hours. Motorists coming via Andheri subway use this route to go to the highway.

The BMC signboard states the work started in March 2013 and will be completed by March 2016, not counting the monsoon periods. Locals, though, claim the work near the pump house started only a few days back.

Mahapalika Road, CST
Traffic has worsened in the city due to the ongoing work of replacing decades-old sewerage and storm water drain lines under the roads. At many places, BMC has dug up roads and kept the new pipes on the roadside, narrowing the usable road. These giant conduits are a hindrance to vehicles.

The road has been turned inside out for laying down storm water drain pipelines, necessitating blocking movement of traffic toward CST
The road has been turned inside out for laying down storm water drain pipelines, necessitating blocking movement of traffic toward CST

The corporation has allocated a budget of R20 crore for replacement of sewer lines, the purpose of which is to increase the water-carrying capacity of the new pumping station.

The Mahapalika Marg has been turned inside out for laying down storm water drain pipelines, necessitating blocking the movement of traffic toward CST. The BMC has made a five-year plan to replace the sewer lines all over the city.

Ambedkar Road near Dadar
The BMC’s hydraulic engineering department has started replacing water pipelines that are more than 50 years old on this arterial road, on the side heading north, just 150-200 metres before Dadar TT flyover.

Excavations have eaten into the busy Dr B R Ambedkar Road in Dadar
Excavations have eaten into the busy Dr B R Ambedkar Road in Dadar

More than half of one lane has been barricaded, and the road has been excavated to replace old pipes with new, bigger ones, which have been kept right on the road, hogging at least six feet of it.

Thus, going north in evening peak hours through this road is an ordeal, as vehicles from south Mumbai head to the eastern suburbs. A traffic police constable requesting anonymity said, “In the morning, it isn’t that bad as most of the traffic is moving towards south Mumbai, but in the evening peak hours, we have to deploy extra constables to dispel the jams on the stretch.”

Commuters are advised not to hold their proverbial breath waiting for the work to get over. A signboard on the site put up by the BMC states that the work of laying a new water pipeline, of 1,500 mm, started in December 2014 and will be completed by November 2017.

Roads to perdition
On December 4, mid-day reported (‘These four roads in Mumbai desperately need to be repaired’) how the Mahim-Dharavi bridge road, a private road in Santacruz (West) going to Daulat Nagar, the Aarey Milk Colony road and Kasturba road in Borivli are riddled with potholes, becoming a source of irritation for commuters.

Aarey road
Aarey Road

After our report, the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) repaired the private road in Santacruz, but the other three retain their pitiable status. When we visited the Aarey road recently, we noticed a patchwork job of mending, but jagged surfaces and craters persist. The entire stretch of Kasturba road continues to await repairs.

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