Corporation officials attribute the shoddy state of roads to ongoing strike by contractors
Motorists are being caught off guard by potholes dotting arterial and side roads in Kochi and suburban towns, since the agencies that own these roads have not completed patch work, although rains took a week’s break.
While the worst maintained roads are in West Kochi, the situation in the city is in no way better. Faced with public fury over the deplorable condition of the Kundannur-Maradu-Pettah Road on NH 85, the PWD (NH Wing) has begun repair work and resurfacing in the busy corridor. “Vulnerable portions are being surfaced using concrete paver blocks, while the rest of the road will be resurfaced with bituminous macadam bituminous concrete [BMBC],” said a senior PWD official.
The inordinate delay in resurfacing the stretch has resulted in shops, other establishments, and vehicles getting thickly coated with dust, since hundreds of container and tanker lorries jostle for space with smaller vehicles along the corridor every day, said Shamier Abdulla, social activist. The recently launched anti-corruption people’s movement, V4 Kochi, too had expressed shock at the dismal condition of city roads, despite a steep fall in the number of vehicles.
Over the past two years, motorists have been demanding that the PWD (NH Wing) repair the pothole-ridden service roads of the Kundannur flyover. The agency attended to a few gaping potholes within a day of outrage in social media about the shoddy state of the service roads and the NH stretch on the northern side of the flyover.
The PWD (Bridges Wing) is under fire for the deplorable condition of the Harbour Bridge that links Thopumpady with Willingdon Island. Gaping potholes dot the bridge’s central portion and either end. The iconic structure, built during the British era, had been renovated over five years ago, at substantial cost. The PWD has also not repaired the severely potholed road linking Mattancherry BOT bridge with the Cochin Port.
Similarly, the Bridges Wing is facing flak for concrete giving away at several places on Venduruthy bridge, posing danger to motorists. The most vulnerable are two-wheeler riders who are caught off guard by potholes atop the bridge which was commissioned a decade ago.
Sources in the PWD (Roads Wing) said Cochin Smart Mission Limited (CSML) was engaged in upgrading many arterial roads it owned. “They [CSML] have assured that potholes on Park Avenue Road and Banerjee Road will be repaired within a week. We will shortly repair potholes on MG Road and Civil Line Road. The stretch from the international stadium up to Kacheripady is being resurfaced,” they added.
Meanwhile, patch work is over at Panampilly Nagar, while resurfacing will be done during dry weather. The Vennala-Arakkakadavu Road and Vennala-Alinchuvadu Road are being repaired. Many projects could have been completed but for labour shortage following COVID-19 curbs, they said.
Officials of the Kochi Corporation cited the ongoing strike by a section of contractors who are seeking clearing of long-pending dues, as a reason for the shoddy condition of many side roads.