Bad Roads take Sheen off ‘Smart City’! Central Railway Station Road in Shambles
Mangaluru: It happens again and again and again- year and year and year after- and at the same locations of same streets/roads. I am talking about dilapidated roads filled with potholes. While Kudla has been selected as one of “India’s Smart City’, but looking at the dilapidated roads, are we really heading towards a ‘Smart City’? Among many other City roads which are in shambles, but just look at the pathetic condition of the road leading from Nehru Maidan towards Mangaluru Central Railway Station. Just look at the pictures below, which will portray the poor work done by the workers while constructing this road. It gets worse and worse year after year. And before the passengers take this road to catch their respective trains, I bet a ride on this stretch is akin to a ride on a ‘ camel’s ‘ back- just bumpy!
Instead of fixing the bad roads first, our MCC officials are busy resurfacing inner-lanes with brand new interlock bricks. But when it comes to fixing the bad roads they are slow and careless. As long as cheap quality tar is being used and layered too thinly, we will continue to have these problems every year. It’s an obvious pattern and I wonder why nobody is looking into this. Now, we have a new lady Mayor, and she should without any delay, direct her colleagues to undertake a major exercise to refurbish City’s potholes. If not, I have a feeling that our city pothole-scarred roads will entice manufacturers of such equipment to come to Mangaluru and demonstrate to the MCC officials that their machines are the best solution to their problem, like they are doing in other potholed cities.
Driving on Mangaluru streets, and for that matter, even on outskirts of the City, is like an obstacle course. Drivers keep swerving and manoeuvring to make sure they miss every pothole. These potholes have also worsened the chronic traffic jams which Mangalureans face every day. Anyone who has had the misfortune of commuting on this road leading to the railway station will testify what a great pain the ride is – literally – owing to the numerous potholes that punctuate the road. Potholes aren’t just a nuisance for drivers; they also constitute dangerous safety hazards that can produce substantial damage to vehicles, force drivers to veer suddenly in traffic, or even cause the driver to lose control of a vehicle after contact. The gaping street can also damage a car’s alignment and suspension system.
A couple of days ago, auto-rickshaw drivers who park near the railway station, blocked both sides of this road for nearly two hours to alert the officials of MCC and Railways about the pathetic condition of this road and wanted them to come and inspect the spot. According to Lokesh Shetty Ballalbagh-the General Secretary of the DK Auto-Rickshaw Owners and Drivers Association said, “Half of this road is laid by MCC, while the rest was done by the Railways. Quite a bit of the stretch of this road is dilapidated with potholes, and unwanted speed breakers at both ends, forcing motorists to veer and swerve to avoid potholes. This results in slower movement of the traffic and also damages the vehicles. It’s time that MCC and Railways take quick action in fixing this road”.
While poor maintenance by road-owning agencies is the main reason behind potholes contributing to crashes, experts said there was lack of uniformity and no standard design for speed breakers on most roads. Apart from bad roads, most speed breakers on these roads are “hugely dangerous”. None follow design, curvature and location when constructing speed breakers. In most cases, locals put up speed breakers. These are more dangerous for two-wheeler riders and passengers in three-wheelers, who are hardly protected. This has also exposed how such causes behind crashes and fatalities are largely neglected while preparing plans to improve road safety. Until road-owning agencies are held accountable for maintenance and booked for negligence, the menace of potholes won’t end. We have hardly any cases of any action taken against such negligent officials/employees.
In conclusion, Potholes and Bad Roads don’t come as a surprise for Mangaloreans. But something has to be done in preventing bad roads and potholes from happening. The city crews should take quick action to fix the potholes before they get deep and worse — thereby avoiding severe driving hazards and vehicle damages. So, while waiting for this road to be restored for a smooth ride, just brace yourself and bear with the potholes or curse someone at the MCC— and still keep driving safe. And if possible just avoid taking “the above-mentioned road” if you can?