Shaji who runs a tailoring shop right beside the RS-AC Road at Vyttila has developed a new habit, or rather reflex, of late.
Every time a vehicle hits the watery potholes in front of his shop, his hands come off the sewing machine in a flash to form a protective shield against the water splashing in.
RS-AC Road, the vital link between the Vyttila Mobility Hub and Ponnurunni, was surfaced in March only to come off in the first rain that lashed the district two months later. With private vehicles from the direction of mobility hub not allowed to enter Vyttila owing to one-way traffic restriction, this stretch is being used by motorists bound for Ernakulam, Edappally, and Palarivattom regions.
“The layer of tar applied was so thin that a worker engaged had told me then that it would come off in the first rain. The narrowness of the road has made life tough especially for pedestrians who often have to run for cover to avoid getting drenched by the vehicles passing through gutters,” Mr. Shaji said.
Lack of drains means that water remains collected at many points, gradually developing into potholes.
Shine P.S., a DYFI activist in the area, said that the road should have been surfaced taking into account the increased volume of traffic. “But the councillor didn’t bother to discuss the matter with anyone. We have filed RTI applications on the matter,” he said.
Muralidharan, a local resident for the past 45 years, was more scathing in his criticism of the councillor and the contractor. “The work was done in haste before the closure of the last financial year to use up the funds. There was no doubt about the fate that would befall the road,” he said while standing in an ankle-deep gutter filled with water.
Francis Sebastian, assistant executive engineer, Vyttila, said that the corporation, as directed by the council, has served notice on the contractor asking him to undertake rectification works.
Gigi V.P., the contractor, said that the work was tendered for surfacing the road using 20-mm-thick chipping carpet, which he said, was insufficient for the road considering the increased traffic it handled.
“Besides, the delay in tendering the work by the corporation meant that there was no settling period between surfacing and rain. Normally, it takes about a month for the freshly laid tar to settle. Anyway, I have agreed to undertake rectification works once the rain subsides only after which my bills will be cleared,” he said.
The almost 400-metre-long road was surfaced at an estimated cost of Rs.6 lakh. This was part of the multiple road works worth Rs.32 lakh assigned to the same contractor in Vyttila division.
Sunitha Dixon, division councillor, blamed the onset of rain immediately after the work for the sorry state of the road. “Gutters have been formed where water remains accumulated. So, we have now tendered work for the construction of drains. Maintenance of the road will be undertaken after the drains are laid,” she said.