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19/08/2010

Traffic jams, Damaged Roads, Monsoon Chaos

PROBLEM:

It is no secret that in rainy season, most of the roads in NCR get flooded and are damaged with lots of potholes here and there, stalling the movement of traffic and causing unending jams. Most of the times the explanation given is low capacity or bad layout of the drainage system to flush out the rainwater. I find, the reason given, is not right in majority of the cases.

CAUSES:

Factual and more probable reasons are:

    1. Bad road slope: The road may not have proper slope for the water to flow into the drain at the nearest opening.

    2. Blocked Drain openings: Water drain inlet holes on the side of the road may be blocked / covered with mud, sand, paper, leaves and even plastic.

    3. Choked Drains: The drain itself may be full of mud.

    4. Unclean roads: Muck on road may be hindering flow of water.

All the above lead to water stagnation. Bitumen roads are prone to damage if water is stagnant. Bonding between bitumen and road gravel gets reduced to a very large extent in presence of water. Any vehicles passing over it will damage the road, which will progressively increase. You will find most of road damages are only in the low-lying portion of the road.

Actually there are many vested interests that are interested in making money through repeated repairs to the roads. They do not want the roads to last beyond a rainy season. So they do not take any interest in minimizing these problems.

SOLUTION:

Evidently, easy steps for minimizing flooding and damages to roads are
    1. Maintain proper road slopes: Proper slope must be maintained on the road surface while laying the road or repairing the road so that water flows into the rainwater drain holes freely. Of course road must be constructed with proper materials to a proper depth and must be properly compacted at different stages and surface should be smooth.

    2. Keep Roads, Drain openings and Drains clean:

      i) Roads must be cleaned daily thoroughly; all sweeping garbage collected must be removed immediately and not left lying there.
      ii) All water drain holes/openings should be kept clean of any mud, sand, paper, plastic etc.
      iii)Drains must be kept clean through out the year and not just as a campaign to clean the drains before the monsoons.

    3. Fix Up Responsibility: District authorities must hold unscheduled personal inspections. Persons responsible for cleaning and maintenance of the roads and drains must be held responsible for the bad conditions. They will have many excuses and put the blame squarely on the public using the roads, but even if the public is responsible for littering, authorities are responsible for keeping it clean.

    4. Do not litter: Public can definitely play a major role by avoiding littering, using the dust bins whenever needed if provided. Roadside vendors are the major culprits in littering the roads with discarded paper plates, left out food, fruit skins, paper etc. They can be taken care of by the municipal/district authorities.