Kerala

Trenches filled, but road users get no succour

Excavations for the Smart Road projects have been filled ahead of monsoon, although much of the work, including cabling, remains. Motorists are able to use only one half of the road now.

Excavations for the Smart Road projects have been filled ahead of monsoon, although much of the work, including cabling, remains. Motorists are able to use only one half of the road now. | Photo Credit: S. MAHINSHA

With the ongoing Smart Road works in the city Corporation not getting completed by the scheduled deadline ahead of the monsoon, the contractors have now temporarily filled the excavated areas. But the woes of the motorists are not over, as negotiating these mud-filled roads, which have not been re-tarred, is still tough. The agencies involved in the works are now contemplating temporary restoration of road. However, they have to be dug up again for the remaining works.

Notices to contractors

The works under the Smart Road project, which mainly involves the creation of underground ducts for utility cables, has been dragging along for the past few months, overshooting its schedule. In April, a meeting chaired by General Education Minister V. Sivankutty and Transport Minister Antony Raju had issued notices to the contractors asking them to complete the works before monsoon.

According to an official of the Kerala Road Fund Board, which is implementing the works for the Corporation and Smart City Thiruvananthapuram Ltd., all the excavated holes, including the ones where works have not been completed, have been filled for now.

"The excavations have all been filled. Though the ducts have been completed in some areas, the cable laying works have not begun. We will see if we can use methods like horizontal direct drilling, without trenching, to complete these works even during the rains. Works on the sewage lines are also pending. So, the road will anyway have to be dug up again. A decision has not yet been taken on whether the roads have to be completely restored, as they will have to be dug up again. All the money used in surfacing will be lost," said the official.

Subcontractors ill-equipped

Though the excavations have been filled up, motorists are still using only the other half of the road, where the tarring remains, considering the danger of riding over loose mud. The delays in the Smart Road works have been attributed to contractors, who are found to be subcontracting the works to others not ill-equipped to implement these works. Many sub-contractors do not have enough machinery or skilled labourers, often affecting the pace and quality of the work.

Out of the 40 Smart Road projects, works on 17 stretches were taken up last year, some of which are less than half a kilometre long. The delays have been causing difficulties not just to motorists, but also to those living near the dug-up roads.


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Printable version | Aug 25, 2022 6:24:36 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/trenches-filled-but-road-users-get-no-succour/article65491291.ece