Mumbai: Two weeks before monsoon deadline, BMC digs up key road in Sion

Two fresh patches of the south-bound side of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Road,  one of the main connectors to the central suburbs, have been dug up; BMC claims it will finish work on time, residents say they are certain it won’t

Just 16 days ahead of its self-imposed May 31 deadline and 10 days before the fresh May 25 deadline set by the municipal commissioner to complete all the pre-monsoon road and trenching work, the BMC dug up two fresh patches of the important Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Road in Sion on Friday.

One of the patches where work is going on. The two patches are just a few feet apart
One of the patches where work is going on. The two patches are just a few feet apart

While the BMC claims it will finish the work on the patches by May 31, residents say they are certain that it will remain incomplete and motorists will have to face trouble during the monsoon season. An activist claimed that ‘curing’, which is part of the concretisation process, alone will take about 15 days.

Local resident Shaishav Zaveri noticed the patches, totalling about 300 feet in length, on the south-bound (towards CST) side of the road, very close to where the Sion flyover ends, on Friday. “No part of the road had been dug up here on Thursday night and suddenly, on Friday morning, I saw these fenced-off patches. How can the BMC claim that the work will be completed with just 14 days left for its deadline from today (Sunday)? Shouldn’t they have planned this in advance? When it starts raining, there are going to be massive traffic jams in the area,” Zaveri said. He said he is sure that the work on the road will not be completed in time for the monsoon.

Footpaths too
The work of revamping the footpaths — replacing old paver blocks being replaced with new interlocking ones — is also going on. When he was asked when it would be completed, the workers on duty said it will take another 30-45 days. If the monsoon hits Mumbai on schedule — within the first two weeks of June — this means that the paver blocks will not be in place on time.

Pedestrians say this is a huge inconvenience for them as they have to walk on the road, which is dangerous, especially on the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Road, which sees heavy traffic.

“The work of placing paver blocks has been going on for quite long now. Besides, the BMC has removed bollards (short posts) from some other footpaths of the area, which has led to two-wheelers and four-wheelers being parked there. Even the fire hydrants are exposed,” said Gaurang Vora, an activist from the area. Vora said he also believes that the work on the two road patches won’t be finished before the monsoon since the process of ‘curing’ for the concretisation itself will take 15 days.

The other side

Asked about the road being dug up, a senior official from the BMC’s roads and traffic department said, “It has not been delayed. Road work is done in phases, wherein one patch on one side of the road is taken up at a time. That is why work on this part of the road has been undertaken now. I assure you it will be done by May 31.” He admitted, however, that the footpath revamp will take longer. “Yes, the paver block work is going to take longer. Work will be stopped during the monsoon and resumed after October,” said the official.

400 The number of roads across the city where the work is incomplete

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