Trucks, an LPG tanker and a hatchback negotiate the half-kilometre mucky Marine Drive stretch in Kadma on Monday. Pictures by Animesh Sengupta
Little high, little low; Marine Drive, ride slow.
The poetic liberty is taken to give a more graphic detail of the peril that vehicles — particularly loaded trucks, tankers and trailers — face while negotiating the much-touted river-grazing approach to the Adityapur toll bridge from Mango, on the fringes of the steel city.
A half-a-kilometre Kadma stretch of the 9km Marine Drive is a crest-and-trough nightmare, which turns more horrifying when it rains.
On Monday morning, a van carrying a consignment from the Adityapur industrial area to Mango had all its wheels stuck in muck, resulting in breakdown. It took driver Akhilesh Tiwary three hours of toil and repair work before he could proceed to his destination.
The predicament is not as solitary as it is serious.
A group of schoolchildren, coming from Adityapur to cradles in Sonari and Kadma, also had a harrowing time in the morning when the auto-rickshaw they were travelling in failed to manoeuvre the muddy road along Kharkai river. Driver Pavan Singh had to take a detour after single-handedly delivering his vehicle from the muck.
Commuters said the Kadma stretch was a virtual swamp that left trucks and trailers in a quandary every hour, not to speak of smaller vehicles. In fact, three-wheelers have almost stopped plying on Marine Drive, while for four-wheelers it is a challenge to cross the road without developing a snag.
“After the toll bridge was opened a year ago, I was glad to use the Marine Drive because it saved time and fuel. But now, it is a nightmare. And today, I swore to myself that I will not use this route even if it means a longer detour,” Tiwary said.
Auto-rickshaw driver Pavan has taken a similar pledge. “The current spell of rain has further deteriorated the condition of the road, which looks like a mud pool. I will avoid the Marine Drive from tomorrow (Tuesday),” he said.
According to local residents, an extensive stretch of the Marine Drive has also developed cracks, which is exposing the soil beneath to the elements, making smooth ride a distant dream.
“Heavy rain last week caused waterlogging and that has resulted in this seemingly irreparable mess,” said Giridhari Prasad, who lives close by.
Prasad recalled how vehicles have been facing mishaps for the past three days. “There are so many ups and downs along this half-a-kilometre stretch that it can make the best driver in the world lose balance,” he added.
Coincidentally, the Adityapur toll bridge completed a year on Monday. Though communication between Adityapur-Gamharia and Jamshedpur has improved, the messy Marine Drive prevents commuters from using the bridge, taking a toll on revenue.
A senior official of Jusco said they were aware of the condition of the road and would find a stopgap solution shortly.
“Later, however, the Marine Drive will be completely reconstructed under the western corridor project,” he added, requesting anonymity.
Till then, it will be a rough ride for the steel city and its neighbouring industrial town.
What suggestions do you have for Jusco officials?