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BMC to take up road repairs after scam, to be more vigilant

Chetna Yerunkar, Hindustan Times, Mumbai: Starting October 1, the civic body will repair and reconstruct around 350km of roads across the city

at an approximate cost of Rs2,000 crore. This will be first major project taken up after last year’s road scam. A police investigation against the contractors and civic officials is currently underway.
As many as 891 roads in the island city, western and eastern suburbs will be taken up for reconstruction and repairs, including concrete and asphalt work. For the first time, 120 traffic junctions will be the BMC’s primary focus.
After the road scam was unearthed, civic chief Ajoy Mehta took several steps to prevent shoddy work by contractors. This includes a revision in contract conditions to ensure contractors do not cheat and individuals are held responsible for shoddy work. Further, a standard operating procedure has been issued for civic officials to monitor road construction work to maintain quality, said senior civic officials.
“We have already initiated action against those found responsible for irregularities. It should send a clear signal to everybody that we are taking the road work seriously and quality construction is expected,” said Mehta.
A majority of the 891 roads will be from the western suburbs – 403 roads and 45 junctions will be taken up from Bandra to Dahisar. BMC officials said 204 roads and 52 junctions will be taken up in the island city and 284 roads and 25 junctions in the eastern suburbs.
For the first time, the civic body is also paying special attention to traffic junctions. More than 120 traffic junctions will be repaired and rebuilt. “At most of these junctions, the road was surfaced with paver blocks, which meant the road was either uneven or there were potholes badly affecting traffic. We are planning to rebuild them in a better way,” said a senior official.
“This should be the beginning of a no-nonsense way of building roads in Mumbai,” he said.
The flip side is that several roads will be partly closed for traffic, adding to the city’s existing traffic woes. It will coincide with the festival season and the construction of the Colaba-Seepz metro at several places. “We will try to minimize the inconvenience,” said Mehta.
The BMC will ask the Mumbai traffic police for permission to work 24×7 to finish the project as soon as possible. It is also planning to use new material to repair and reconstruct cement-concrete roads so that the newly built roads will dry faster and roads need not be blocked for a longer period. “This new material will help us open up concrete roads for vehicular traffic within eight to 10 days instead of 28 days. This new technology will dry faster than concrete,” said an official from the civic roads department. However, the material is slightly more expensive. “It is worth trying because a little bit more money will help us minimise the inconvenience faced by motorists,” he said.

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