Daily commute on the EM Bypass has turned into an involuntary game of hopscotch for pedestrians even as motorists fail to steer clear of the lunar landscape.
Rains have rendered the roads off the Bypass and service roads running parallel to it, some of which were repaired only last year, unserviceable yet again.
The roads lined with potholes are a nuisance both for cars and pedestrians, as Metro found out on a drive down crater country.
Ruby service road
The kilometre-long busy stretch, which includes the passport office, Fortis and Desun hospitals and several offices, is dotted with potholes.
The service road begins near Calcutta International School, where the road dips from the Bypass. There are small waves on the black top, which the rainwater has eroded.
“This slope is very dangerous for motorbikes. I have skidded a few times in the rain even though I am extremely cautious,” said Sumit Acharya, a medical representative.
A doctor who drives down to Fortis said the road was repaired last year and had been in pretty good condition before heavy showers ploughed it up.
An ambulance driver said patients almost always complain of pain when passing over certain stretches of the service road. Trucks waiting for repair at a tyre shop line the road, eating up roadspace.
Official speak: The Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), responsible for maintenance of the road, blamed its condition on the Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd, which is constructing the New Garia-Airport Metro link along the Bypass. “We have written to the RVNL to restore the service road immediately. They are supposed to maintain this service road,” said a senior engineer of CMDA.
A RVNL official said the agency no longer maintained the road as the CMDA had taken up restoration work. “But if required, we can hold a discussion with the CMDA on the repair work,” he said.
The road connecting the Ruby rotary to The Heritage School and Urbana housing complex has been undergoing repair for five months.
Local residents and shopkeepers complained that the work on the road, parts of which are dotted with potholes, is often suspended for months before being resumed for a few days.
A crater, three-feet wide and filled with rainwater, greets motorists right at the mouth of the road near the Ruby rotary.
“I have had to change the suspension of my car twice in the past year because of the potholed roads,” said Anshuman Bose, a resident of the area who drives a hatchback.
The roads that lead into RR Plot and housing complexes such as Happy Nook and Abhyudoy, off Anandapur Road, are also lined with craters.
On Anandapur Road, a major problem is that even when work stops, drums of pitch and stone chips are not removed from the roadside.
Official speak: “First, we had to suspend work because of the board exams and then the Calcutta Municipal Corporation dug up the road for laying drinking water pipes. A telecom company also laid cables under the road,” said the CMDA engineer.
Repair work had resumed recenty by were stalled by the rains. Restoration work will begin in a couple of days, he said.
This road opposite Avisar shopping mall and Spencer’s connects the Bypass again to Urbana and The Heritage School. It is a nightmare for motorists, especially at night, as it is filled with potholes and the edges of the road are broken at many places with a canal on one side.
There are also half-a-foot deep and one-foot wide depressions on the road where pipelines were laid months ago.
Cars screech to a halt as they encounter the first of the craters 200m from the Bypass. beyond that point, the road towards Urbana is in very good shape.
“It gets very difficult driving here at night because there are no street lights and there are a lot of pedestrians but no pavements. Some of the craters are so deep that a motorist has to swerve right or left to avoid them,” said Ashish Kumar, a resident of the area.
It can take up to 20 minutes to get on to EM Bypass from here as a long single file queue of cars forms.
Official speak: Susanta Ghosh, the chairman of Borough XII of the CMC, said repair work has already begun. “I think the entire road will be done before Puja,” Ghosh said.
The road is maintained by the CMC. Engineers said the work is complex because of the difference in height of the Bypass and the road.