Even as the Chennai Corporation is racing against time to re-lay the roads damaged in the monsoon under the special roads programme, it is facing challenges in terms of maintaining the quality and preventing the re-laid roads from being dug up.
Of the 266 roads, including 154 bus route roads, proposed to be re-laid under the Rs.60-crore project, 63 bus route roads covering a stretch of 34.45 km have been laid so far, according to officials of the Corporation. The deadline to complete the work covering a total distance of 146 km is this month-end.
Residents said it was a welcome change to have several damaged arterial roads repaired and blacktopped. While the civic body is confident that the facilities would last for three years, residents of various areas have expressed doubts.
The work is being undertaken in a hasty manner without the milling process, said V. S. Jayaraman, a resident of T. Nagar. Re-laying without the milling process would only raise the road level and pose problems for houses during monsoon, he added.
A few elected representatives complained that in some places such as stretches of Konnur High Road, the road surface is chipping out as it has not been laid properly.
Many residents said only a portion of the arterial roads is being re-laid as in the case of Nungambakkam, Purasawalkam and Mylapore and the patchwork was not even with the road level.
Parts of Sivaswamy Salai, Velachery Main Road, Luz Church Road, G.P. Road, Royapettah and C.P.Ramaswamy Road remain damaged. V.Gopalakrishnan, a resident of K.K.Nagar, said tar is being sprayed without proper cleaning of the surface on some roads, which may have a bearing on their durability.
Many elected representatives and residents complained that the civic body is yet to start blacktopping the interior roads. Though the work on interior roads was scheduled to start 10 days ago in places such as Kosapet, Ayanavaram and Otteri, it is yet to begin.
The state quality monitor (SQM) comprising former engineers of the Highways Department have been engaged in checking the quality of the work periodically, for the first time for a project of the civic body. An official who conducted random check in Egmore and neighbouring areas said the quality has improved. However, suggestions have been made to provide proper slope to ensure smooth flow of traffic and prevent water stagnation. Equipment must be made available to test temperature of the mix at work site.
Another official said some of the parameters being checked are surface cleaning before applying tack coat for binding and temperature of the bitumen mix at various levels of laying.
“We also monitor thickness, which has to be set to 40 mm after compaction. Roads are not being laid to their full width to allow water to flow to the nearest collection point of storm water drain,” said the official.
The Corporation has also decided to be vigilant about road cuts, particularly on the newly laid facilities. But, a few roads continue to be dug up for development or emergency works.
G. Premanand, a resident of Purasawalkam, said that the civic body had taken action against a private agency that dug up Millers Road, which was re-laid, a few days ago. “I noticed that the workers of the Chennai Metrowater now have again dug up the road for their work.”
On road cuts, Corporation Commissioner D. Karthikeyan said “we will not allow road cuts to be done on newly re-laid bus route roads.”
He said that however, the civic body would not be unrealistic regarding repair works such as underground electricity cable faults and sewage overflow problems, to be carried out by utility services. “For any road cuts, the agency concerned must seek permission from the civic body for road cuts and then undertake repair works,” he added.