MANGALURU: Less than a fortnight into the monsoon season, the newly bituminised stretch of Bengaluru-Mangaluru National Highway (NH 75) in Shirady Ghat is showing early signs of erosion.
Motorists say potholes are appearing on the 22-km stretch of the road in the Ghat section at Marenahalli, Addahole, Kumpuhole and Gundya where rain has been copious for the last fortnight.
The road was bituminised last April.
However, a 13-km concrete stretch of the road in the Ghat section is holding.
“Small dots of tar (bitumen) wet with rainwater were seen all over the body of my car and three other cars of my relatives that travelled on the road,” said Prakash Shetty, a hotelier in Mangaluru city.
But the signs of erosion of the bituminised road has not surprised the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
Officials in its Mangaluru division said they had expected the road to wear out due to heavy rains and the movement of very heavy tonnage vehicles.
The officials said the funds given for the maintenance of the road is too inadequate considering the traffic.
The road, which is one of the busiest national highways in the country with a traffic of nearly 1 lakh passenger car units (PCUs) per day, needs at least `30 crore every year for maintenance and relaying, the officials said.
During the last four years, only `57 crore has been spent for maintaining the vital link between the coastal city and the state capital, sources said.
Making the matter worse, contractors do not readily come forward to take up the road work as their payments were delayed.
Activists of Shirady National Highway Protection Committee at Sakleshpur said bituminous surface without proper drains will not help. “Every year, the government will dump public money on rebuilding and relaying the road which is a waste of money”, they said.
The road had been repaired at a cost of `37 crore in May 2008, but it had stated crumbling just two months later, resulting in public anger. However, future promises to be better with the four-laning of the highway being envisaged. As the project includes a number of tunnels, the road is expected to be straighter.
“We are in talks with the Jaico Infrastructure Company to build the road and the initial estimate is `3,000 crore”, said NHAI sources.
The four-lane road in Shirady Ghat will have appropriate grading, thickness and drains for free flow of rainwater, according to NHAI officials.