Potholes and wornout surfaces are unavoidable on EM Bypass until the construction of the New Garia-airport Metro link is complete, mayor Firhad Hakim told The Telegraph on Monday.
Hakim said the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA), the custodian of the Bypass, would undertake repairs but the road would break again, and the sequence would continue.
Hakim is also chairperson of the agency.
A portion of the New Garia-airport Metro runs above the Bypass.
There are five stations along the Bypass, all over the ground, which are in various stages of construction.
While the KMDA, a state government agency, maintains the Bypass, the Metro corridor and the stations are being built by the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), a central agency.
Hakim, who inspected Kolkata’s roads on Monday, said he found most of the thoroughfares in good condition.
When this newspaper asked him on Tuesday about the stretches of the Bypass that were still in a battered state, he said: “The state of EM Bypass will remain like this till the Metro Railway construction is complete. Very heavy vehicles (carrying construction materials) move over the roads and that leads to cracks.”
Told that some of the stretches that were repaired barely a month ago are breaking again, Hakim said: “We will do the repairs again, but the roads will break again. Till the time the Metro Railway construction is complete, this sequence will continue.”
Not everyone agrees. A consultant engineer who works with the state government said there were some stretches on the Bypass where Metro work had ended, but those were still in poor shape.
He also pointed out that service roads were in bad condition on many stretches, and Metro work could not be blamed for that.
A professor of civil engineering at IIT Kharagpur said on Tuesday that any construction work would lead to damage of the road along which work was on. But EM Bypass, he said, is a strategically important corridor in the city.
“One cannot just keep such an important road in poor condition for long because thousands of people commute through it every day.... The repairs have to be done in a way that they sustain for a longer period. The road may not give the appearance of a finished and clean road, but it should be serviced well at regular intervals,” the professor said.
Stretches of the Bypass — especially the ones below the under-construction stations near the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, in front of Metro Cash and Carry and near VIP Bazaar — have remained in poor state for a long time.
A stretch of the Ruby-bound flank near Ambedkar Bridge has dangerous potholes and worn-out stretches.
Two more stretches, near the Ruby crossing, which were repaired about a month ago have again started to break.
Hakim said the KMDA would take up a thorough repair of the Bypass only after the Metro work was over.
The first phase of the New Garia-airport Metro, between New Garia and Ruby, is set to be opened in October.
The second phase, between Ruby and Sector V, is likely to be completed by 2023, a Metro official had earlier said.