CHENNAI: Damaged roads continue to be a nightmare for Chennaiites, particularly for motorists and pedestrians. The roads and interior streets cry for attention, and multiple accidents occur as the roads are in bad shape. Several roads and interior streets are yet to get the patch work even before the onset of monsoon, which caused inconveniences to the public.
However, the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) has identified damaged roads, and not been re-laid for over five years. More than 8,000 roads at an estimated cost of Rs 1,020 crore will be re-laid in the city under the corporation limit. The phase one work is expected to begin by end of January.
The civic body authorities carried out road patch works across the city even before the onset of northeast monsoon 2022. Unlike the regular patch works done previously, they have implemented jet-patch works in Chennai. “Earlier, workers cut the portion into a square and then filled it with raw materials. Now, the jet-patch work is an automated pothole filling machine; this was only used in Pune previously. And now we’ve been using this to make city pothole free roads,” stated Chief Engineer (General) S Rajendiran, GCC.
The GCC has identified main roads and interior roads which were damaged during the monsoon. This is in addition to the roads that are over five years (aged with wear and tear). Most of these roads will be in zones 1, 2, 5, 11, 13 and 14 (Tiruvottiyur, Manali, Royapuram, Valasaravakkam, Adyar, and Perungudi). “As many as 8,000 roads will be relaid in the city, covering around 1,700 km. A total cost of Rs 1,020 crore is allocated for the project. The works will be done in phased manner — as of now Rs 45 crore is allotted for phase one, and Rs 80 crore is estimated for second phase which is yet to be sanctioned. It also includes bus route road (BRR),” said Rajendiran.
The work will be executed after the resolution is passed in the upcoming council meet. As per the GCC data, at least 19,000 square metres have been identified tentatively, of which 3,600 sq m is completed. In 2022, the civic body authorities completed done patch work in approximately 262 roads including Madhavaram High Road, Dr Radhakrishnan Road, Natesan Road, Patheon Road, Jermiah Road, College Road and Greams Road.
It’s not unusual to see government departments including Chennai Metro Water board, Metro Rail, and Tangedco digging up the roads (for various reasons) that were already re-laid by GCC authorities. It led to reducing the carriageways and pavements on roads. To avoid such a situation, the city corporation has planned to provide a lane.
If other departments wanted to carry out the works instead of disturbing the carriageway, they can use the lane to ensure the roads are protected from further damage. To ensure that roads sustain for a longer period, guidelines have to be followed.
Also, the concerned officers with the GCC should inspect the re-laid road regularly. Several roads are not re-laid for over a decade due to lack of funds, and though these are re-laid, it does not sustain for a longer time. Councillor R Jayaraman of ward 4 said, “It has been over 15 years since the corporation re-laid Mahalakshmi Nagar main road in Tiruvottiyur. We’ve raised multiple complaints to the concerned department, but they claim funding issue as the reason for not starting work.” He added that recently, the city corporation stated that Rs 52 lakh was allocated to re-lay roads.
“Work was expected to begin in February. But the tender process is yet to start. The local body should ensure that the good quality of materials is used for the sustainability of roads.” Majority of the grievances from the public is on road damage. They urge authorities to re-lay them at the earliest to prevent accidents.
Damaged roads caused traffic congestion and accidents in the city, especially on the interior roads. “After the storm water drain works were completed from Dr Kamachi Memorial Hospital to the Velachery stretch, the roads have become hollow. They cause traffic jams and minor accidents. Unless a major mishap happens, the government does not resolve the issue. When complaints are raised to the concerned department, officers continue to be lethargic. It doesn’t help that the assistant engineers with the zonal office claim that they do not have sufficient funds for the project,” lamented V Parthiban, a resident of Thoraipakkam.