Broken paver blocks: What lies beneath

Published: 25 November, 2013 07:20 IST | Sujit Mahamulkar and Chetna Sadadekar |

MiD DAY inspects 10 notorious stretches of roads where poorly maintained paver blocks installed over utility chambers have rendered them broken and patchy; neglected by the authorities, they make your daily commute a nightmare

Andheri (West)

This is an important road for all the residents of Andheri (West), leading them to the railway station and connecting SV Road to JP Road. A dangerous pothole has formed around a utility chamber on this stretch. At present, the presence of a massive boulder alerts motorists to stay off this patch, but heavy traffic often makes the patch unavoidable.

Ambedkar road
Dadar (East)

An important road, which connects the eastern suburbs to the city for lakhs of commuters. But making their commute a difficult one is the paved road near the Dadar ST stand, forcing them to endure the bumps caused by broken paver blocks around the utility chambers near the station.

P Ghosh road
Somvaar Bazaar, Malad (West)

An important interior road that connects Malad’s Swami Vivekanand Road to Link Road, it is used by residents to go towards Malad station. There is a utility chamber in the middle of the road that is causing inconvenience to various bikers and auto-rickshaw drivers, who drive at speed on the stretch, only to be caught off guard when they hit the uneven spot.

Swami Vivekanand Road

This is an important road that stretches right till Bandra, with commuters on their way to Goregaon railway station using this every day. The utility chamber has broken pavers all around it, and bikers often lose their balance here, increasing the chance of accidents.

SV Road
Near Jogeshwari station

A cement concretised road that is used by many citizens every day to travel towards Borivli, this arterial stretch has a utility chamber which has not been covered properly by the authorities, causing a patch of unevenness where pavers have been dislodged.


The road approaching from Shivaji Park junction and moving towards Prabhadevi and Elphinstone is packed with residential societies, schools and colleges and so witnesses heavy traffic. A utility chamber installed on this junction is unavoidable for taxis and bikers who drop students to the schools. The dismantled paver blocks surrounding it cause huge obstacles for those driving or riding vehicles.

Elphinstone road

Near the station
This is an arterial road connecting the Elphinstone Road station to Worli, the ST stand and various other commercial offices that constitute the commercial hub in the central part of the city. A lot of utility chambers, installed bang in the middle of the junctions cause bumpiness and severe jerks for motorists while riding. Surprisingly, this has gone unnoticed by the BMC office that is hardly 100 metres from the spot.

Vile parle
SV Road

Commuters use this stretch to reach Cooper Hospital or Nanavati Hospital and even head towards the station. The utility chambers on the stretch have given rise to undulations and patches, with a two-inch wide dent between the chamber and the adjoining road.

Gokhale road
Dadar (West)

This important stretch connects spots like Dadar TT and Dadar station to Shivaji Park and Portuguese Church. It’s the same story of dismantled paver blocks and the resulting unevenness that inconveniences commuters travelling on this junction.

Mumbai Central junction

This is a major junction which is used by lakhs who travel on the western line every day as well as those who come to the station to board long-distance trains. All have to ensure bumps and jerks on their way, thanks to the broken pavers near the utility chamber in the middle of the junction. The road also connects important landmarks like the Opera House, Mumbai Central station, Tardeo and Byculla, Nagpada junctions.

Pics/Amit Jadhav, Datta Kumbhar and Sujit Mahamulkar

'RCC frameworks, mastic asphalts are good alternatives to paver blocks'
By the admission of road experts themselves, most of the junctions in the city are rendered uneven and accident-prone owing to the use of paver blocks. They also claim to have suggested the use of other alternatives to paver blocks, but their suggestions have fallen on deaf ears.

The experts said that they want the BMC to use mastic asphalt on the junctions instead of paver blocks. And in cases where the presence of utility chambers makes paver blocks a necessary evil, they must be laid within an RCC framework made of cement concrete to keep them tightly in place.

“We have asked the BMC to use RCC frames for each manhole around which paver blocks have been used, so that they do not get displaced,” said road expert N V Merani (left), who is also a former chairman of the STAC committee, adding that this was the only way to keep paver block intact. “The BMC can use paver blocks on junctions, but in a proper manner. Paver blocks can repair junctions in less time, compared to asphalt or cement concrete.”

Road expert Nandkumar Salvi said, “The paver block was meant only for footpaths and should not be used on road or junctions. Poor foundation construction and lack of supervision is the main reason why paver blocks get dismantled. Any engineering work requires proper supervision.” He added that unevenness is caused when roads are dug up for repairs and not patched up properly afterwards.

BMC’s reply
Insisting that they were considering the suggestions made by experts, Additional Municipal Commissioner SVR Srinivas said, “We do understand that the junctions are a place where various places meet, and they should be concretised. Having said that, it cannot be denied that the utilities go under the junctions, which again are important. To tackle this issue, we are looking for optional technologies and mastic asphalt is also one of them.”

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