| A repaired stretch of NH-33 between Dimna and Baharagora near Demkadih on Friday; (below) an excavator clears sand near Bhilaipahari. (Animesh Sengupta)
Driving to towns in Bengal and Odisha is likely to become a pleasant experience by year-end as a 60km killer stretch between Dimna and Baharagora is being re-laid using technology that is best suited for roads cracking up in the rain.
Repairs on this stretch of NH-33, that sees heavy traffic to Calcutta and Bhubaneswar, is being taken up after more than three years. The stretch is a nightmare for drivers as the potholes of yesteryear have now become craters.
No wonder the national highway division of the state road construction department is keen on doing a good job.
We have received instructions from the NH division state headquarters in Ranchi to follow WBM, or water bound macadam, technology to repair the stretch. Any repair work in the old pattern would not help as water accumulation will result in the road developing potholes and craters in a matter of months, said NH Jamshedpur division executive engineer Amar Nath Thakur.
In the WBM technology, crushed stones of varying sizes forms the base of the road. The road is then levelled by rollers and filled with sand. Next, a combination of metal, stone and bitumen put together in a hot mix plant is used as coating. After this, a final coating of bitumen is applied on the road surface.
Thakur said Rs 6.78 crore, from funds sanctioned by the Union surface transport ministry, would be spent on the repair work. Jamshedpur-based contractor Adhunik Contractors and Builders had been entrusted with the job.
Work began on Thursday but was stopped for Janmashtami on Friday. Work will resume in full swing from Saturday. As per the tender, the work will have to be completed within five months, ie, by the end of the year. However, the contractor has promised to complete the work before Durga Puja by deploying their full quantum of rollers, tippers and dumpers, the executive engineer claimed.
But, Thakur noted that Rs 6.78 crore was not enough. The Centre, he added, wasnt sanctioning more funds as work on widening NH-33 was expected to commence soon.
We are hopeful that with WBM technology, the road will be fit for driving. We expect the NH-33 widening work from Ranchi to Baharagora to commence by the end of the year after which the responsibility of repairing this stretch would pass on to NHAI, he added.