The civic polls in Salt Lake and the adjoining areas are round the corner and the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation has started patchwork repairs of the roads in the township rather than relaying the blacktop citing “funds crunch”.
Residents and engineers of other government agencies are worried about the quality and longevity of the repairs where freshly laid patchworks on some stretches are already peeling off in two days time.
The repairs started on Christmas.
Potholes dot all major roads of the township — some in worse shape than others.
The engineers of the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation, which goes to polls on January 22, are relying on patchwork — a layer of bitumen that is laid over craters — as a quick-fix solution.
An official of the civic body said that they had started the work and would complete all roads in the corporation area. “We have started from Salt Lake and then focus on places like Baguiati and Kestopur. We were forced to choose patchwork repairs as there is a paucity of funds,” the official added.
Metro drove through the township and saw labourers pour asphalt into craters without laying a layer of rubbish or even scraping off the broken asphalt layer.
One of the worst affected stretches that includes a 1km-stretch that connects Tank Number 9 to the Udayachal tourist lodge is being repaired. However, on a stretch of Seventh Cross Road that leads from the Karunamoyee intersection to Tank Number 8
that was repaired on December 25, the patches have already started wearing off within two days. A BL Block resident was injured on December 25 afternoon after his bike skidded on the loose stone chips.
“I was riding home when a bus suddenly stopped in front of me and I, too, had to hit the brakes. My bike skidded on the loose stone chips that had worn away from the patchwork repairs,” said Sandeep Choudhury.
Another road that will be repaired is a 2km-stretch of Third Avenue that leads to the Wipro intersection from the intersection at Karunamoyee .
A Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority engineer said a road surface laid with mastic asphalt or concrete easily outlasts a surface redone with bitumen.
Mastic asphalt could be laid in a short span of time and even in between rains. But the civic authorities keep choosing patchwork over other options.
Around Rs 3.8 crore is required to build a kilometre of mastic asphalt road. Though the cost is many times higher than patchwork repairs, it evens out in the long run because mastic asphalt doesn’t require frequent repairs.
An engineer said: “A concrete road is three times costlier to build compared to bitumen but lasts two decades. The longevity of a bitumen stretch, on the other hand, is a few months. A mastic asphalt road costs double and lasts around five years.”