Santacruz-Chembur Link Road Extension: Contractor begins fixing potholes, 4 months after flyover launch


After coming under fire for its shoddy construction of the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR) extension, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has started fixing potholes on the recently opened bridge.

The MMRDA said that the contractor is entrusted with the responsibility for the work on the newly opened flyover of SCLR Extension Phase 1, and hence the cost of repair will be borne by J Kumar Infra. “The primary reason for the damage was that this particular stretch was being used as a working yard and storage space for materials like steel,” said an officer. The stretch also had a site office as per the MMRDA.

The 3.8-km extension bridge, which starts near Kapadia Junction and ends on the WEH near Vakola junction was opened to the public on February 10 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The 5-kilometre-long SCLR is an elevated corridor meant to cut travel time between Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) and Western Express Highway (WEH).

Link of commuter showing pothole on SCLR

MMRDA engineer said that the pothole stretch road dressing will be done as a temporary measure considering the intermittent monsoon rainfall. Only mastic can sustain in the rains, the officer said.

Polymer-modified bitumen has been used on the existing SCLR Extension road where potholes have appeared.

However, road engineering experts have refuted the claims of MMRDA. A civil engineering expert, who did not wish to be named, said the quality of bitumen must have not been tested and substandard materials should have been used which could be the reason for craters to appear on the road surface. “The point that the stretch was used to store materials like steel and having a site office are not the reasons for roads turning into potholes,” the expert said and further pointed out that due to the substandard quality of raw materials, the surface material of the road washed away after a few spells of rainfall.

Experts pointed out that no compromise in quality checks should be done on the flyover considering the huge traffic flow on Mumbai roads. The 3.8-km bridge that comes under SCLR extension Phase 1 covers Vakola junction, University junction, BKC junction, MTNL junction and BKC-LBS flyover, and 150 metres of the stretch is riddled with potholes.

“If a site office and storage can deteriorate the condition of the road in just four months, considering Mumbai’s traffic, what will the authority say after a few years?” asked the expert.

Padeco India Ltd, another leading private agency, was appointed as the project management consultant.

The expert asserted that the condition of the road riddled with potholes in just four months despite MMRDA appointing a leading agency as a project management consultant and a renowned contractor for the construction of SCLR should be viewed seriously.

The project cost of phase-1 was increased to Rs 645 crore, nearly Rs 200 crore more than the earlier estimate. Moreover, the project was not completed in haste as it missed its initial deadline of October 2019. The project got delayed due to various reasons, including pending permissions to block traffic and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the second phase is under way. As per an official, the MMRDA has decided to construct a cable-stayed bridge at Vakola nullah near Hans Burg Marg part of Phase 1 of SCLR. As the cable-stayed portion is not ready, the spans for second phase works cannot be erected yet though fabricated and ready.


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