Leaking storm water drain causes cave-in at Elphinstone Road

Jun 21, 2013, 00:30 IST | Sujit Mahamulkar

The line passing underneath was old and damaged, and water seeping from it weakened the road surface, creating a cavity, which collapsed when BMC workers were digging around it

A portion of the road on the Gawde Junction crossing of Senapati Bapat Marg and NM Joshi Marg at Elphinstone Road caved-in early yesterday. Thankfully, no injury or damage was reported after the incident.

BMC workers were digging around
Black hole: BMC workers were digging around the cavity to trace the source of weakness when the cave-in occurred. Pic/Satyajit Desai

At first, a two-and-a-half feet wide and four-feet deep hole was reported. BMC workers reached the spot to dig and trace the weakness to its source. They discovered that a storm water drain passing below the ground was leaking.

Within hours, the hole grew in proportion, becoming six feet wide and ten feet deep, and eventually the road, made of paver blocks, caved in. The incident caused problems for commuters moving from Tulsi Pipeline Road coming to Elphinstone Road, which is already experiencing traffic snarls since the closure of the Curry Road bridge.

“The storm water drain, which was very old, got damaged. The repair work has been started and will be completed by Friday night. We took all precautions to avoid traffic problems,” said Keshav Ubale, assistant commissioner of the G-south ward.

Over 20 such incidents have been reported in the island city in the past three years, and four of them occurred on the busy Pedder Road.

A civic official from the Storm Water Drain department said that this is a regular problem in the island city, which is surrounded by the sea and has utilities like water mains, storm water drains, sewer lines that are over 80 years old, running underneath.

The civic body has no technique at hand to check the condition of the underground utilities and prevent such incidents. Many of the lines have corroded and developed cracks, leading to the erosion of soil underneath the roads and the formation of cavities on the weakened surface.

The bad roads are part of the problem. Had the BMC maintained the road regularly then such a thing would not have happened. The BMC should do its work on time and prevent such problems.
-- Hasan Khan, biker

The road caved in today and repair work has already begun. We did face a few traffic problems, but we made sure that none of the snarls turned into major jams.
-- Traffic cop posted at the crossing

I use this road every day and never experienced any traffic problems. But there was some congestion today, caused by the digging.
-- Greenwell Misquitta, biker

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