Why BMC should avoid using paver blocks on Mumbai roads

As their name suggests, paver blocks are meant for pavements, and at best, narrow by-lanes in the city. And yet, these brittle blocks are ubiquitous on the city’s most crucial junctions, most of which bear the weight of heavy traffic all through the day. 

Spot of bother: The scene at Priyadarshini junction, Chembur. Pic/Shadab Khan

The BMC has always justified its love affair with the blocks, hiding behind the excuse that they are easy to use for repair work, and help get a road traffic-ready within hours. Ironically, they seem oblivious to the fact that these very paver blocks come undone in weeks, making road repair a repetitive task. MiD DAY paid a visit to 10 rocky stretches in the city riddled with cavities left in the wake of dislodged paver blocks, much to the chagrin of commuters.

Location 1
JVPD (Juhu Galli)
Costa Coffee
Condition: The uneven road surface has given rise to a host of problems for commuters. In the monsoon months, so much water accumulated on this stretch that motorists found it difficult to manoeuvre their vehicles. The road is important, as it connects JVPD to Andheri (East). It is also one of the
two roads leading to Andheri station.

Pics/Amit Jadhav

Amruta Jadhav,
— Frequent commuter

The JVPD stretch near Costa Coffee shop has always been a problem for us. This stretch is most troublesome during monsoon every year. No authority has bothered to repair the road, thanks to which we have to experience bumpy rides on the road.

Location 2
Andheri East (Chakala Junction)
Hotel Sagar and HDFC Bank
Condition: The road right ahead of the Chakala junction has an extremely uneven surface, thanks to dislodged paver blocks. The stretch is crucial to motorists heading to the Western Express Highway from Andheri East.

Harsh Kotak, 
— Frequent commuter

I have been seeing this road for more than six years, and the uneven paver blocks continue to cause inconvenience. Potholes on the stretch make matters worse. Driving on this stretch every day has given me a back problem, and I have to consult a doctor regularly. The authorities should replace the paver blocks with tar, cement or concrete, so that motorists don’t face such problems. 

In the past, MiD DAY has carried reports on the paver block menace, making roads in the city dangerous

Location 3
Bandra East, SD Mandir Road No. 3
Opposite Suburban District Collector’s office
Condition: This stretch connects WEH with Bandra Kurla Complex. Many vehicles use this road as a shortcut to BKC as it saves both time and fuel for motorists. Due to uneven paver blocks on the stretch opposite the district collector’s office, vehicles have to slow down and suffer through bumpy rides.

Pics: Satyajit Desai

Manisha Jaiswal,
— Frequent commuter at Kherwadi

We are used to the bumpy roads now. The road made with paver blocks gives us a lot of trouble, as they often get dislodged, leaving the road scarred and uneven. Things become worse when it rains. The concerned authorities should take a call soon and replace the paver blocks with cement and concrete.

Location 4
Dr Ambedkar Road
Bus depot for Mumbai-Pune buses
Condition: This is an unavoidable stretch that connects CST to Sion. Paver blocks used at several junctions on this stretch cause tremendous inconvenience to motorists. The Khodadad Circle flyover is a case in point.

Shreya Shetty, 
— Frequent commuter on Ambedkar Road

The paver blocks cause a lot of problems for us. There are times when I am in a cab and want to get home early, but there is always a patch or two on the stretch on this road, causing terrible traffic snarls and troubles for motorists.

Location 5
Vile Parle West (SV Road),
Vile Parle (West) station
Condition: The road leading to Vile Parle station witnesses heavy traffic during peak hours. This is an arterial stretch of SV Road, connecting Vile Parle station to Santacruz and Khar.

Valentine D’souza, 
— Frequent visitor to Mithibai college

Those commuting via rickshaws, two-wheelers to and from Khar on this stretch experience a lot of problems. The paver blocks on the roads cause so much unevenness on the road surface that I get a backache.

Location 6
Dadar West, Kavi Keshavsut Bridge,
Near Dadar station, Flower market
Condition: The first part of the northbound stretch of the Dadar (West) bridge is scarred and uneven. The stretch is always packed with commuters who have no option but to use the road as it directly connects to the bridge that connects the importantsuburbs of Matunga, Mahim and Bandra.

Pic/Satyajit Desai

Maria Rodrigues, 
— Frequent commuter to Dadar

I usually avoid taking this bridge whenever I travel towards town. I have to worry about potholes caused by broken pavers every time I am negotiating this stretch.

Location 7
Ghatkopar LBS Marg
CBI Unit 7
Condition: LBS Marg in Ghatkopar is a crucial road that connects Sion with Mulund, and many motorists use this road during peak hours every day. The junction near the Crime Branch office in Ghatkopar has paver blocks that are mostly broken and dislodged, making it a bumpy ride for commuters.

Pic/Shadab Khan

Vishal Shah
— Frequent commuter at Ghatkopar,

Already, the roads are in a bad state, and what adds to the traffic problem is the paver blocks at the different junctions along LBS Marg. I know paver blocks are easy to use during repair work, but the authorities should see to it that paver blocks are maintained so that surface does not become uneven.

Location 8
A S D’mello road (High Court lane)
This side of this road that leads to the Oval Maidan stretch is extremely uneven and causes problems for those moving from Mantralaya and Nariman Point to reach landmarks like CST, Marine Lines and Fashion Street.

Pic/Bipin Kokate

Shreyas Ullal, 
— Frequent commuter in town who usually takes the High Court Lane

I usually take this route as the other ones are longer. But traffic on this stretch makes commuting a pain. If you are commuting here you are bound to have a jerky ride, thanks to the uneven surface. The civic body does nothing to solve the problem.

Location 9
Suman Nagar, chembur:
A long stretch is tiled with paver blocks, making it risky for commuters who use this
part of the Eastern Express Highway. This bumpy road leads to heavy traffic congestion in the area. Motorists familiar with the stretch go slow to avoid damage to their vehicles, but those who aren’t aware of the unevenness often run into trouble.

Pic/Shadab Khan

Sonal Chaubey, 
— Travelled to a relative’s place from Suman Nagar Junction

I rarely travel on this stretch, but my journey on this road was a nightmare. The roads were in a pathetic condition and commuting is very difficult. The bumps make the stretch accident-prone.

Location 10
Abdul Rehman Road (Bhendi Bazar),
Shalimar Restaurant
Condition: This important stretch below JJ flyover leads to JJ Hospital and hosts a wholesale market, making it crowded at all hourtwo-wheelers are not allowed on the JJ flyover, bikers have to use this stretch, and have to negotiate the treacherous potholes caused by dislodged paver blocks.

Aditya Gupte, 
— Frequent commuter on this road

I have been using the city roads on a daily basis on my bike. Paver blocks are largely responsible for bumpy and uneven rides on the roads. The authorities should find an alternative and replace the paver blocks with tar or cement, or concretise road.

Officer Speak
The administration still insists that paver blocks are useful in repairing a road that witnesses heavy flow of traffic. D R Dixit, chief engineer for roads, said, “We use pavers for junctions as a lot of utilities are underground. It become feasible to cover up the road when we work on it. In the recent past, when there was a cave-in at Marine Drive, we preferred paver blocks, as it was important to reopen the road to traffic.”

Expert speak
Transport expert Jitendra Gupta said, “Paver blocks are meant to be used for footpaths and walking tracks in the gardens. I seriously don't understand why they are used on arterial roads. When paver blocks that are meant for footpaths are used on arterial roads, they break after heavy vehicles pass over them. This leads to an uneven road surface, causing traffic jams and slow movement of traffic. There is a political motive behind the preference for paver blocks shown by contractors.”

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