BMC says it doesn't have the machinery to carry out roadwork as per technical committee's recommendations; manual relaying of thinner asphalt layers will delay the Rs 904 crore project

With just a little over two months to go for the upcoming civic body elections, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) seems to have stirred from its slumber over the issue of ill-maintained roads in the city.

Officials say that without the use of machines, the construction and repairs will be further delayed as workers would have to cut out rectangular parts and then carry out the resurfacing work

It has now decided to construct/repair major and minor roads, and repair topmost layers of 34 bridges in the city, costing it a whopping Rs 904 crore.

Here's the catch. If the BMC decides to do the work as per recommendations made by the Standing Technical Advisory Committee (STAC), it will be forced to press more manpower instead of machines to finish the job, making it more time consuming.

Earlier, the BMC had decided to lay a 40 mm thick layer of mastic asphalt during roadwork. However, during a meeting, STAC member suggested the civic body reduce the thickness to 25 mm.

Inadequate machinery
Commenting on the difficulty faced by the civic body in executing STAC recommendations, an official from BMC's road department, said, "The machines used currently can lay asphalt of only 40 mm thick.

However, if we do not get machinery that can work as per their (STAC) suggestions, the work will have to be carried out manually.

This will only add to the delay, as the workers would have to cut out rectangular parts and then carry out the resurfacing work."

He further mentioned that the entire roadwork must be completed before the next monsoon for which tenders would be floated soon.

STAC speaks
According to STAC Chairperson N V Merani, the 25 mm thick layering is achievable via mechanised process and is a better option, as the entire resurfacing would be over 75 mm thick.
"It is a coat that will protect roads from wearing out easily. Besides, mastic asphalt will only enhance their endurance levels.
The three layers that would be done mechanically with a proper technique will provide sustainable surfaces for the bridges that have been lying in a bad condition for a long time," said Merani.

Official word
Commenting on the issue, Standing Committee Chairperson and Shiv Sena corporator, Rahul Shewale, said, "We would be approaching the IIT and STAC for suggestions of machinery, and commence work as soon as possible. The bridges would be completed before the next monsoon."

Rs 550 cr
Cost of constructing/repairing major roads

Rs 349 cr
Cost of constructing/repairing minor roads

Rs 5 cr
Cost of resurfacing 34 bridges