After the PWD spent Rs 6.33 crore to repair and resurface the Western Express Highway before the monsoon, commuters continue to suffer due to potholes and uneven patches; the department is currently undertaking patchwork repairs
Once again, the Western Express Highway is riddled with potholes, despite the Public Works Department (PWD) spending over Rs 6 crore of taxpayers’ money on pre-monsoon repairs. While the department continues to repair damaged sections of the road during dry spells, it is unable to keep up with the pace at which craters are turning up on the highway. This begs the question, why are potholes proliferating at this rate when such a huge amount was spent on pre-monsoon work?
Despite pre-monsoon repairs, the Western Express Highway is marred with potholes yet again. One of the worst stretches is in Andheri (West), near the Jog flyover, where the top layer of the road is peeling off, leading to craters and uneven patches. Pics/Tushar Satam
mid-day travelled on the WEH on Thursday and Friday and found several potholes on the north- and south-bound stretches, particularly between Goregaon and Kherwadi. One of the worst patches is on the north-bound arm of the highway, from the end of the Jog flyover at Andheri (West). This 30-metre section had also been repaired prior to the monsoon, but now it is not only marred by potholes, but the top layer of the road has started peeling off, making it extremely uneven and increasing the chances of bikes skidding there.
Hop, skip, jump: It’s not just motorists who are bothered by the potholes. Dodging the craters has become a daily problem for pedestrians.
The south end of the flyover is also damaged, with potholes and uneven patches, while another pothole-ridden section lies between Dindoshi and Jogeshwari.
According to motorists, this issue crops up every year. A local resident, Ganesh Nikam said, “I live nearby and, for the past 10 years, I’ve seen the PWD repair this road again and again, despite which potholes keep coming back. The question is: Are the authorities doing a shoddy job because of sub-standard material, or is this done deliberately so that contractors can earn more money with further repairs during monsoon?”
The PWD is already carrying out patchwork repairs on the highway, using stone crush powder and other materials. For larger potholes, however, the department is using paver blocks, which eventually results in dangerously uneven patches.
PWD began the pre-monsoon repairs and resurfacing in March, along with painting the road medians and lane markings. The work was completed by May 31, the date fixed by the government for completion of pre-monsoon road works.
Last month as well, mid-day had found several potholes between Borivli and Bandra and at the time, PWD executive engineer S S Deshmukh, who is in charge of WEH, had confirmed that over R6.33 crore had been spent on pre-monsoon repairs till May 31, including resurfacing of the road, repairing uneven surfaces.
A senior PWD official said, “The material used for the pre-monsoon work is of the best quality; it is wrong to say sub-standard material has been used. Potholes might have come up, but these are being repaired on a war footing.”
>> In a bid to avoid criticism over the highway’s poor condition, the PWD has already begun repairs on a war footing. A vehicle is dispatched during off-peak hours by the department to keep track of potholes, so they can begin repairs during dry spells.
>> While commuting between Goregaon and Jogeshwari, this reporter spotted PWD workers filling potholes using stone crush powder and other material. However, larger potholes are repaired using paver blocks, which only increases the danger to motorists, since those patches become uneven and slippery over time.
Jitendra Gupta, Transport expert
The occurrence of potholes on the WEH after spending such a huge amount proves that shoddy work has been done and sub-standard material may have been used. This has been happening every year. The authorities need to take the help of experts to make better-quality roads.