“Everyday it is a back-breaking ride. You do not know how deep the potholes are. There is always a fear of losing control over the vehicle,” said Charan Shetty. He regularly takes his sister on his motorcycle from his house behind the Karnataka Bank and drops her at the Pumpwell Circle. He again goes in the evening to pick her up.
Mr. Shetty is among the many motorists who driver on the Nantoor Junction-Pumpwell stretch of the National Highway. “This has been a problematic stretch for a long time. We only hope that four-laning of the highway will address our problem,” said M. Pramod, who runs a nursery off this road.
A major portion of this one-km stretch has turned bumpy. The case of the road from Pumpwell to Ullal and beyond is no different. The problem starts with big potholes at the Nantoor Junction. “The road is in bad shape till Talpady,” said Anand Sankoli, who works in the Mangalore Airport. The worst affected, according to Mr. Pramod, were the ambulances moving towards a private hospital near Kuntikana Junction.
For many motorists, the most problematic stretch has been between Karnataka Bank and the Pumpwell Junction. In the absence of a side drain, the road gets flooded making it difficult for the drivers to spot the potholes and craters beneath the sheet of water. “Just a month ago, these potholes were filled. But they have opened up again. No permanent solution has been worked out,” said Madhusudan D. “It is at its worst during summer when we have to endure the dust,” he said.
According to Mr. Sankoli, the problem was with the quality of the National Highway roadwork. “The State Highway did not maintain this road. Just recently, this stretch came to the National Highways Authority of India. We hope for a better quality of the road,” he said.
The city traffic police said the number of vehicles moving on this stretch of the highway had come down after the highway connecting the Nantoor Junction and Padil had been opened to traffic. NHAI project director P.N. Gawasane was not willing to comment on the issue over phone.