The Kerala Water Authority (KWA), PWD and agencies that do road repair woks may have a lesson to learn from the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on how to temporarily restore dug up or potholed roads.

Last weekend, the DMRC ensured that traffic movement was back to normal through Padma Junction on MG Road in just over 12 hours after a portion of the road was excavated to locate pipelines and cables. Soon after the agency filled the trench, it was topped with a few layers of crushed sand. This was then topped with concrete at the road level.

“Not even a centimetre of the surface has sunk, despite vehicles being allowed over it by Saturday afternoon. Members of the public were sceptical about the plight of the excavated portion, till we concrete topped it. The surface has withstood the load of buses and heavy vehicles,” said an official associated with the works. The area was excavated since the KWA did not have drawings of the precise location of pipelines.

Still, many are not convinced about the process. “It is a good way of restoring damaged roads in the rainy season. Still, the concrete topping works may not last for long, unless traffic curbs are imposed,” said an NHAI official. A PWD officer said that KWA, KSEB and other agencies that dig roads must speed up works and temporarily restore the road using wet mix macadam (WMM). This would last for a few weeks, till the road is resurfaced.

A senior PWD official pointed to many lacunae in the KWA’s work culture. Referring to the PWD’s inability to resurface Palarivattom-Thammanam Road that was dug over a year ago by the KWA, he said that a Rs 1.50-crore project to tar coat the road has been postponed since pipe-laying work is not yet over. “The KWA is not bothered about how digging works affect traffic and pedestrians. They lay pipelines through the centre of the road. At least one-way traffic can be ensured if they are laid through the side. Repair works and plugging leaks too will be easier.”

On the plight of SN Junction-Puthiyakavu Road dug up in Tripunithura, he said that the KWA dug two sets of trenches, wreaking havoc on the road. It is yet to complete a few works. “Moreover, it has paid us just Rs 1.20 crore, instead of the Rs 2.50 crore that we sought for resurfacing the 3.30-km road.”

The KWA did not temporarily restore Mattancherry police station–Panayapilly Road that is dug up just before the rains. The allegation is that the agency digs roads just before the monsoon, leaving little time for resurfacing work.

Though many roads are dug up within weeks of being resurfaced, the district-level coordination committee headed by the District Collector, having the PWD executive engineer as convenor, is often unable to coordinate the works.

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