CHENNAI: Even as the Corporation of Chennai is busy re-laying roads along bus routes in the city ahead of the Global Investors Meet in September, concerns are being raised about how the roads have increased in height after they have been re-layed. Earlier, the civic body had not scrapped the previous bitumen layer, before a road was re-layed. However, a conscious effort has been made by the civic body for cold milling the bus route roads, this time.
Civic body officials told City Express that they were laying three layers of bitumen, in order to increase the road strength. This has also resulted in an increase of the road’s height. A ride on Sardar Patel Road in Adyar would reveal how the road is now almost in level with the median and the footpath. But with camber correction being done for the first time, officials said that there was no reason to worry about flooding near low-lying residences and business establishments. “Steps have been taken to ensure that the flood water flows into the stormwater drain network,” said an official. For example, on the footpaths of Rukmini Lakshmipathy Salai in Egmore, grated inlets have been placed on the curb side, similar to what is found in the US.
Though the Corporation is cold milling the roads, the technique has come under criticism. “The milling is not done properly. A large portion of bitumen around manhole covers is left untouched. They leave out the portions, where two or three layer patchworks had been done. There are rectangular bumps on the road,” said S Murugesan, a commuter. After milling, there is a gap of at least a week or 10 days before contractors start working again. With loose gravel lying around, the area becomes a dust bowl, as is the case with Greams Road and Pantheon Road near the Children’s Hospital until it was re-layed recently.
Bitumen Trouble for Metro Water Officials
The Corporation’s road re-laying policy is troubling Metro Water officials as the contractors re-laying the roads have been instructed to lay bitumen over the manhole covers. “We are leaving a small four-inch gap for Metro Water to identify the manholes. This is being done because motorists complain of spinal cord injuries upon riding over the manhole bumps,” said an official.
Metro Water officials are not satisfied. “Earlier, when they used to re-lay roads, they would scatter sand around the manhole cover, so that bitumen doesn’t stick to it and they could re-lay around it,” said a Metro Water official. “When they lay bitumen over the manhole cover, it is a big trouble for us. We will have to dig open a wider area in case we have to rectify problems,” the official added. Another Metro Water official cited an example of how his colleagues were struggling to locate two manhole covers on Gandhi Mandapam Road. “The contractors lay the road in the middle of the night and without proper instructions from the Corporation. There is no co-ordination with us either,” the official added.