Extensive potholes problems

By Murari Chaturvedi

Potholes increase rapidly in number and size during monsoon throughout the country. Potholes are caused by the interaction of environmental conditions. Water and heavily loaded traffic is the main cause. Added to these are inefficient repair, insufficient road maintenance and experience road contractors. During rainy season the road surface conditions worsen due to water logging and heavy traffic. Ageing bitumen dries and cracks and water penetrate through the cracks into the lower layers. In fact water is the worst enemy of tar roads. Deficiencies in material and poor work manship are serious concerns. The Delhi Joint Commissioner of Police (traffic), Satyendra Garg described the problem as potholed broken roads compound congestion leaving long traffic build ups as speed is drastically reduced. The possibility of freak accidents goes up. As per the Brihan Mumbai Corporation (BMC) data this year 16,035 of the reported 17,243 potholes were attended to though sources say many were exposed again after rains.  All roads under traffic and environmental conditions will eventually crack. When potholes are not repaired in time, they deteriorate rapidly and become larger and deeper until patching maintenance is no longer possible. The quality of patching is often poor and many patches do not address the fundamentals cause of the pothole.  These necessities to repeatedly repair once again. What is baffling is the lack of urgency in the past of the authorities despite the funds being available. So what is to be done to make Indian roads traffic worthy. The biggest evil which should be dealt with firmly is the whooping corruption in road construction department. A seizable chunk of budgetary allocations are eaten by the corrupt officials of road department. This is no small amount and to put a curb on it will take more than an iron fist. Crores of rupees go in giving bribes to the road contract passing officials. The political as well as social pressure is needed to check this whole sale loot of the tax payers’ money. In our country a lot of advances are made. We have satellite technology and such other scientific advancements. We have a number of research labs, including road development technology. These labs should be given firm direction to study and invent such chemicals and methods of road repairing and pothole fixing effectively than there is inferior material issue often contractors are using inferior material used in fixing potholes, by inexperienced labor. The roads are life line of national economy and as such there should be all out effort to maintain them.

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