Most arterial roads in Pimpri-Chinchwad seem to be pothole-free which cannot be said for Pune. Recently, Mayor Prashant Jagtap announced a special Whatsapp number for citizens to complain about potholes. Jagtap also warned of action against contractors if potholes emerge on newly laid roads. By and large, the main arterial roads of Pimpri-Chinchwad have managed to remain free of potholes since the last few monsoons.
Civic officials say this is due to prior planning and out-of-box solutions. In particular, they said, the formation of a special squad and surveys as part of pre-monsoon work help identify problems and take remedial measures. Mangala Kadam, leader of the ruling party in PCMC, said almost a month or so before the monsoon, the civic body forms special squads for every ward to identify and address the problem of potholes. “These squads consist of executive engineers, junior engineers and other officers of the road department. The squad is entrusted to do detailed surveys of roads in an area and take up repair,” she said.
During such surveys, flood-prone areas are identified and possible areas of water logging addressed. Citing the example of grade separators, Kadam said this monsoon, there have hardly been any complaints of water-logging which had become a major problem last year. “We had identified the problem and addressed it which involved inclusion of water outlets that has prevented the problem from recurring,” she said. She added the civic body has made a policy decision not to dig newly-laid roads for three years. She said this year, the civic body has also started an app-based service to help address the problems of potholes. Another point that helps the civic body is the inclusion of non-breakage clause while drawing up contracts for roads.
Civic officials said in almost all road-laying contracts, the contractor is asked to ensure continuous work especially in case of tar roads. “This ensures uniform work and prevents potholes,” said an official. In the past five years or so, the traffic scenario in Pimpri-Chinchwad has turned better, especially since PCMC went all out to put up a network flyovers, grade separators and subways. Whether it is the Pune-Mumbai highway, Nashik highway or the ever cluttered squares in Chinchwad, Kalewadi or Thergaon, flyovers and subways have eased bottlenecks and reduced travel time.
The Pune-Mumbai highway which had become a nightmare for travellers is a travellers’ delight today. Reason: fewer signals and no jams. Here, the PCMC has constructed a ‘triple flyover’ over road, river and rail, which is said to be the only one of its kind in Maharashtra. Again on this highway, the PCMC has constructed two grade separators which are considered a better option than the costly flyovers. At present, the Empire Estate and Telco Road flyovers, considered the two major projects, are nearing completion. “Once completed, Pimpri-Chinchwad would then have very few roads with bottlenecks,” said a civic official.