BENGALURU: Blame the rain, if you must. But the rapid disintegration of roads in Bengaluru this rainy season also highlights the sorry state of affairs in the city. Poor quality of road work, lack of maintenance and bad planning, coupled with official apathy and corruption, are what cause the roads to crumble even under the impact of a single spell of rain. Experts say roads should last at least five years once asphalted with good quality material provided the drains are maintained well.
“If roads are asphalted as per the suggestions of the Indian Road Congress, they must last no less than three years. With high-quality material, they won’t need repair for up to five years,” said Dr Ashish Verma, associate professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Science.What contributes to the making of potholes is the lack of adequate facilities to drain water. He said roads will be free of potholes if rainwater does not stagnate. “For roads, we use a bitumen-coated aggregate. When this comes in contact with water for long, bitumen tends to lose its adhesive property, leading to potholes,” he said. Verma said it is important to have chambers on either side of a road where rainwater can flow.
A similar suggestion was made by M N Sreehari, another expert. He said the civic agencies should have worked during the summer and relaid the roads to prepare them for the monsoon. He pointed out that no attempt was done to repair roads during summer.Dr H N Ramesh, dean, Department of Civil Engineering, Bangalore University, said it is important to ensure that soil tests are conducted before roads are laid. Also, there is a need for industry-academics collaboration to address such issues, he said.
Another civil engineer said same roads get damaged repeatedly as the necessary conditions are not maintained at the time of construction. “Maximum dry density and optimum moisture content must be maintained. It is only of late that civic agencies have realised this,” he said, pointing that stretches from Nelamangala to Tumakuru and Hassan are in good condition as these factors were taken into account.
Recipe for better roads
- Ensure SWDs are maintained well
- Use quality materials for asphalt
- Do not fill potholes at surface level with debris
- Ensure there is no water stagnation