| MOONDRIVE: The state of the Ruby General Hospital-to-Garia stretch of the EM Bypass. Picture by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya
Shravan Agarwal, a resident of Alipore, has been leaving for his Sector V office at 8.30am — to reach by 10am.
“It should not take me more than 45 minutes to reach office, but the condition of the Bypass approach, from Bridge No. 4 to Parama island, is so bad and the traffic so slow-moving that it takes double the time,” complains the senior executive with a software giant. “Also, the ‘down’ stretch from Salt Lake to Park Circus is a disaster.”
Agarwal — and thousands like him — can take heart. A flood of complaints about the roller-coaster ride down — and off — the Bypass after last week’s rains prompted a scurry of activity behind closed doors on Monday.
The CMDA officials have decided to launch a 96-hour road-repair drive, starting Tuesday. Given the timeline, the patchwork on the Bypass and the Park Circus connector will be complete by the weekend.
The decision was taken at an emergency meeting convened by P.R. Baviskar, the CEO of the CMDA, with senior engineers of the traffic and transportation department. Senior engineers claimed the road surface wore a cratered look owing to waterlogging, “which is bad for the asphalt”.
Lean bituminous matter had been put on the Park Circus connector and a final topping of semi-dense concrete layer was pending when the four-day downpour began.
“The problem is that the lean bituminous layer is porous and when water accumulates, it seeps into the road, causing craters,” explained Debdas Bhattacharya, the chief engineer of CMDA’s traffic and transportation department. “The final topping, which requires 15 days, would have ensured longevity of the road.”
That’s hardly any consolation for those subjected to the peril path to and from the Bypass. The first sign of trouble while approaching Bridge No. 4 from Park Circus, when Metro took the route on Monday afternoon, was a pothole in front of Central Bank. That was just a teaser, the showstopper lay in the middle of Tiljala Road — a giant crater that forced cars to a crawl. The opposite flank was worse, in patches.
“If it does not rain heavily this week, the patchwork on this stretch will be carried out. But major repairs can only be undertaken after the monsoon,” said Baviskar.
The bituminous flanks of the Bypass are paved by potholes and stonechips, forcing cars to slow down and swerve.
“We will try to re-lay the entire road with mastic asphalt so that the road does not suffer such damage even if it rains heavily,” added Baviskar.
Further up, off hotel Hyatt Regency, two giant potholes enjoy pride of place in the middle of the road. “The whole purpose of a Bypass is defeated with traffic snarls at every point,” complained Sujit Roy, a resident of Salt Lake.
Beyond the battlefield of CMDA’s Operation Patchwork, the Ruby General Hospital-Garia stretch of the Bypass is all patchy and potholed.
“With several highrises and hospitals, this is a heavy-traffic stretch but the authorities do not seem to care. An accident is just waiting to happen,” warned Abhijit Banerjee, a resident of the area.
What’s more, the service road off the Bypass linking Udita and Hiland Park remains flooded seven days after the Tuesday deluge. “There is no outlet for the water, which has remained stagnant for a week now. It is also the breeding ground for diseases,” said the Monginis shop-owner at the Unnayan Commercial Centre.