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Piecemeal repair hits road works Piecemeal repair hits road works

Jan-16-2015 | 0 Comments

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KOCHI: For reasons best known to the public works department (PWD), the costlier interlocking tiles have become the preferred option to relay severely damaged stretches of city roads, resulting in 'unforeseen' consequences.

Taking the department and motorists for a ride, contractors are carrying out a shoddy job by laying interlocking tiles on some stretches and leaving the rest unrepaired.

Local residents allege such sub-standard work has been carried out on Puthiya Road, which links national highway and Vennala, among others. "If the entire stretch of such interior roads is properly relaid, more vehicles could have taken them and avoided the congested Palarivattom-Kakkanad road. But PWD is doing patchwork using interlocking tiles, leaving the sides and edges uneven. This could cause accidents," said Jessy Mathew, a teacher and resident of Vennala. Some contractors allege that PWD "officials often direct them" to relay roads using interlocking tiles even on stretches that require only conventional bitumen.

Kerala Government Contractors Association (KGCA) district president K D George said, "Interlocking tiles are more durable and there is an increasing demand to relay roads using them. When there is increased movement of traffic, we have noticed that roads laid using bitumen are damaged quickly." He brushed aside suggestions that the shortage of bitumen was the reason for contractors to opt for interlocking tiles. "The laying of interlocking tiles is more expensive," he added.

As per PWD rates, laying interlocking tiles costs Rs 1,100 per 1M square (10.76 square foot), while 30mm carpet chipping work using bitumen costs about Rs 350 per 1M square. The department has so far relaid about 4 to 5km of roads with interlocking tiles in the city. This includes major junctions such as Palarivattom Junction, Kundanoor, High Court Junction, Kaniyampuzha Road and Vyttila.

Meanwhile, PWD claimed that they allowed contractors to use interlocking tiles only "if the work could be carried out within the estimated amount".

"The department does not make any excess payments to contractors who use interlocking tiles in places where it's not specifically mentioned in the contract," said superintending engineer P P Benny.

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