Residents of Kochi may have to put up with the tiresome journey along the potholed-city roads at least for a few more months to come.
Various agencies involved in the upkeep of the roads including the Public Works Department (PWD) and the Kochi Corporation are waiting for the monsoon rains to abate to carry out repair works.
Some of the city roads owned by the PWD including BTH road, Shanmugham Road and the road stretch from Palarivattom to Kakkanad have developed ditches and potholes. The coat of bitumen laid over the roads was washed away at places. The potholes are also slowing down the movement of vehicles leading to traffic snarls at places.
When asked about the damaged roads, officials of the Public Works Department said that its contractors could not complete the re-laying of the roads due to heavy rain. In a few roads including Shanmugham road, only the bitumen cement could be laid and rains disrupted the works. Potholes have developed in those sections where the work could not be completed, said P.P. Benny, executive engineer, PWD (Roads).
The contractors who had earlier won the bid for laying the roads will complete the works at their own expense. The payments for the work have not been made as the works are yet to be completed. All the road works have been scheduled and the contractors would begin them when the sky clears, said Mr. Benny.
The Kochi Corporation on its part, has started assessing the rain-induced damage to the city roads. Indications are that it would take at least a few more months for the corporation to repair its own roads. The officials of zonal offices were directed to make a list of the damaged roads and prepare an estimate for repairing them, said Works Standing Committee chairperson Soumini Jain.
Ms. Jain admitted that it may take a few more months for all the city roads to be made motorable. The paper works would take at least one month to complete. Before Onam, which falls in September, all roads would be repaired. All the 35 city roads, which were recently re-laid by the PWD as a one-time support for the Kochi Corporation, are in good shape, she said.
The civic authorities are adopting a double-pronged approach to repairing the roads. Ready mix concrete that would settle quickly will be used for the repair works on major city roads. The metal patching using bitumen and rubble will be for minor roads and that work can be done only in dry weather conditions, Ms. Jain said.