The Telegraph
Thursday , May 15 , 2014
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Off the Bypass, bone-rattlers

Service roads along the Bypass are in such shoddy shape that most look like they had had two rounds with Mike Tyson. The ones near the Ruby roundabout are a nightmare for car shocks and fenders, not to forget human bones.

Some of the roads are being widened and a few were tarred and rolled after the last monsoon mayhem, though potholes have sprung up already to indicate the standard of the repair job paid for by the taxpayer.

Metro revisited some of these rattle roads.

Where: Lane off the Ruby roundabout

We saw: The 150m lane between Calcutta International School and the Ruby crossing can be a lab test for civil engineering students. The dusty, dirty and bumpy road with an iota of asphalt carries patients to Fortis hospital and schoolchildren. Bricks and rocks jut out of the surface at the elevation where the link road merges with the Bypass in front of the school.

“The road is in ruins. Kids are having allergies because of the thick dust hanging over the place all the time. Kids getting off buses and pool cars on the Bypass have to cross this small incline but it is so uneven that they have to be escorted, lest they fall,” says Satyajit Banerjee, director of Calcutta International School. “One of our staff members fell flat on his face three months ago. Shudder to think what will happen during monsoon.”

Why this? The Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) had dug up the road to lay a pipeline bringing water from the Dhapa treatment plant to areas along the Bypass.

What’s next? A promise, if one believes the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) that maintains the road. “The road is in poor shape because of the CMC work. After the digging, it takes time for the soil to settle. The underground water pipeline has been laid and we will soon start repairing the road,” said Priyatosh Bhattacharya, the chief engineer of CMDA’s area development sector.

Where: Feeder road along East Calcutta Township Housing projects

We saw: Tarred but not rolled properly, the road leading to the Rashbehari Connector is bumpy and full of potholes. The point where cars steer onto the feeder from the Bypass and the small stretch that leads to the Rashbehari Connector can hardly qualify as a road.

The top layer of asphalt no longer exists while red dust and fragments from exposed bricks fly around in places.

“Some sections were dug up and have not been levelled. Every time we take this road, the car takes a beating because the undercarriage grazes the mounds of earth,” says Sudeshna Basu, who lives near Ajaynagar.

Why this? Engineers say normal wear and tear has caused the potholes.

What’s next? Immediate repairs not on the cards. An engineer says the service road is part of the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) project on the Bypass. “Repairs will depend on allocations,” he says, underlining the paucity of funds that has besieged the BRTS.

Where: Feeder road near Baghajatin railway station

We saw: The road between Hiland Park and Patuli is a lot better — widened and tarred. But potholes near Hiland Park can break a few fenders. “The road is much better now but for the potholes. Hope they fix them soon,” says Tapan Poddar, who owns a shop selling construction material near the rail gate.

Why this? The stretch has not been repaired for more than a year, so potholes from wear and tear are a natural consequence, says an engineer.

What’s next? “We will repair the road and fill up the potholes,” says Himadri Roy, chief engineer at the CMDA’s traffic and transportation sector.

Where: Service lane near Ajaynagar

We saw: The CMDA repaired the road in the months since Metro visited the stretch in August last year when it represented a motocross track with feet-deep craters as obstacles. But the road width has shrunk because large concrete pipes are being stacked on the sides to build rainwater drainage.

nWhat’s next? What looks good now, may not hold during monsoon. The 200-metre stretch between Hiland Park and the Ajaynagar crossing is notorious for waterlogging and stagnant rainwater remains there for days even after a short spell of rain. “The road is at a much lower level than the Bypass and other roads nearby. The sewer lines under the feeder are clogged with silt. The possibility of rainwater damaging the road again this monsoon cannot be ruled out,” an engineer warns.