The north-east monsoon has not yet arrived but Chennai’s roads are already in disarray. And, while stretches throughout the city are damaged it is re-laid roads that have the Chennai Corporation in damage control mode. A number of roads that were re-laid in the past three years have been damaged, many of them before completion of the ‘guarantee period’ of three years.
The civic body has asked many contractors to repair the roads that were damaged. .
Patullas Road, which was completed in July 2012, at a cost of Rs.19.7 lakh, is among the damaged roads. Other newly-laid roads are gradually turning into pockmarked stretches after each spell of rain. Referring to stretches such as R.K. Mutt Road, Harrington Road, Third Cross Street, R.A. Puram, Rajamannar Salai, K.K.Nagar, Nattu Subbarayan Street, Mylapore, Mundakakanniamman Koil Street and Vembuliammankoil Street West K.K. Nagar, residents said that these were re-laid recently.
Most of the stretches are said to have been damaged because of “faulty road compaction,” said officials. Compaction is the process of producing a road surface of maximum evenness and stability. If the road has 100 per cent road compaction with no ‘air voids,’ rainwater will not seep into the latter, preventing road layers peeling off due to load of vehicles. Optimum compaction requires road rollers to go over road surface several times.
Many bus routes and interior roads in Chennai had not been compacted to the stipulated density leading to pothole formation. Most of the stretches seem to have been compacted below the stipulated 100 per cent. The civic body is yet to study the compaction of all its stretches. Quality control engineers said that roads compacted to at least 98.5 per cent of the stipulated density would last nearly a decade. Most of the contractors however have provided a compaction ranging from 90 to 95 per cent, an engineer said.
Chennai Corporation claimed that the total length of bus routes damaged was just five km so far. But the civic body is yet to compile a final list of roads damaged. Officials also said that many of the roads were damaged due to inundation of the roads that did not have good drains.