Mumbai: Why paver block pain continues to haunt MMR area

Updated: Aug 22, 2019, 10:16 IST | Anamika Gharat, Ranjeet Jadhav

Despite BMC stopping the use of the dreaded cement component for its roads, several new flyovers in Thane and arterial roads in the suburbs are peppered with paver blocks, as MMRDA and MSRDC don't seem to have received the memo

Mumbai: Why paver block pain continues to haunt MMR area
Several parts of the Thane, Ghodbunder Road the PWD AND MMRAD is still using paver blocks to fill potholes at Ghodbunder road Thane west ....Potholes are a problem everywhere this year, the city says. But Main Street West is "like driving off road." Pics/Sameer Markande

It's the same road story across the city and suburbs, with a new problem seeming to have cropped up recently. Despite the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) completely stopping the use of paver blocks to fill potholes on its arterial roads, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) has gone ahead and used them to fill craters on flyovers in Thane. mid-day also found MMRDA using paver blocks to fill potholes on the Western Express Highway.

MSRDC has been using paver blocks to fill potholes on bridges/flyovers in Thane that were constructed only five to six years ago. Upon visiting the site, mid-day also found that the paver blocks were not fixed uniformly, thus ruining the entire stretch of road and making it worse for commuters to drive/ride on these roads.

Also Read: City needs solutions to potholes without rigmarole

The potholes on the overbridge at Waghbil being filled with paver blocks

In 2012, MMRDA had sanctioned four bridges in Thane's Ghodbunder area, including the one going towards Nashik at Kapurbawdi. Construction of these bridges was completed by the MSRDC six to seven years ago and yet, they are already full of potholes. MSRDC officials have no put paver blocks on these flyovers deteriorating the quality of roads further.

The Bombay High Court had last year observed that it was up to the Maharashtra government to decide on the use of paver blocks on footpaths, in city premises and small bylanes that see low traffic.

Also Read: Why Thane's roads are lying in tatters

The potholes on the overbridge at Waghbil being filled with paver blocks
The potholes on the overbridge at Waghbil being filled with paver blocks

It had, however, advised against the use of paver blocks on arterial roads. Further the court had ordered utilising services of traffic police, peons and sweepers to survey roads and identify bad patches, framing procedures for standardising the quality of roads and designing mechanism for periodical inspection of the roads and holding contractors responsible for bad roads in the guarantee period.

In its order, the HC-appointed panel had also held civic bodies responsible for keeping the roads and footpaths in their jurisdiction properly levelled and surfaced. "The work of filling in the potholes shall be carried out scientifically as an ongoing project," it had stated.

Gandhari bridge in Thane
Gandhari bridge in Thane

'Not for highways'

Jayant Pawar, a resident of Ghodbunder, said that the authorities always blame the monsoon and resultant waterlogging for the poor road condition. "But what is the reason behind the flyovers having so many potholes? And the paver blocks they are using are so unevenly places that bikers and small car drivers face problems commuting on this road. Paver blocks cannot survive on such roads that see heavy traffic," he said.

Ghodbunder road is the main road connecting to the Nashik and Gujarat highways. Transport planner Vivek Pai said that "ideally no agency should use paver blocks on such main highways." They are mainly meant for use on "footpaths, inside city premises, and some small roads with low traffic." Instead of using paver blocks which cannot be laid out evenly, "they should have used cold bituminous mix technology, recycled plastic pellets, or plastic mixed bitumen," he insisted.

Also Read: Seven youngsters fill potholes between Dadar and Parel to help authorities

On a number of bridges in Thane, including this overbridge at Patlipada, Ghodbunder Road, the PWD and MMRAD are still using paver blocks
On a number of bridges in Thane, including this overbridge at Patlipada, Ghodbunder Road, the PWD and MMRAD are still using paver blocks

Bad bridges in Kalyan, too
Apart from Ghodbunder road, the Kalyan MSRDC bridge, Gandhari flyover, Patri Pul, Ganesh Ghat and Mumbra bypass too are full of potholes. The Mumbra bypass was recently closed for four months for repair work but that hasn't helped matters. Within six months of its repair, the road is lined with potholes and bad patches.

WEH full of potholes
When mid-day travelled between Santacruz and Dahisar on Wednesday, several uneven patches were encountered across the stretch. WEH, that starts from Mahim and goes up to Dahisar toll plaza, is under the jurisdiction of MMRDA. One of the worst patches on the arterial road is on the south-bound stretch near the domestic airport flyover.

Ganesh Ghat bride in Kalyan
Ganesh Ghat bride in Kalyan

A 200-metre stretch on the south-bound highway is uneven and the potholes that have been filled using paver blocks lead to heavy traffic jams, sometimes up to a kilometre long, during peak hours. The WEH also has crucial junctions below flyovers and those too see bad roads and traffic jams. The junction below Jog flyover in Andheri West and Chakala junction flyover are particularly bad with the paver blocks.

'Using required material'

MMRDA's joint project director Dilip Kawatkar said, "We have been filing the potholes on the roads that are under our jurisdiction using the required material." When told that the potholes on WEH and other MMRDA roads are being filled using paver blocks, he said, "I cannot comment as I will have to check with the concerned officials before commenting." MSRDC officials remained unavailable for comment despite repeated attempts to reach them.

200m
Length of an uneven stretch on WEH that is entirely filled with paver blocks

2012
Year the four bridges on Ghodbunder road were sanctioned

2013-14
Year the bridges were built

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