White-Topping Of Bengaluru Roads: Did It Curb Pothole Menace Or Cause Traffic Congestion?
BBMP’s ambitious plan of vanquishing all potholes in Bangalore by white-topping of roads came to life in 2018. Though the project’s results were portrayed to be very promising, BBMP is now facing commuter’s heat for poor execution and prolonged congestion of traffic. The completion of the project’s phase I has been pushed way beyond its deadline, and the phase II has commenced when the phase I saw only 15% completion. Whitetopping is the covering of existing asphalt pavement with a layer of Portland cement concrete.
Commuters have a nightmare travelling to their offices and homes
The process of white-topping of the road between K R market and BHEL circle was started in March, and it abruptly stopped. Now that busy stretch of road is not only half-built but also flooded with construction materials and barricades. Haphazardly parked vehicles of customers of a local hotel worsen the already dire condition. An employee of the hotel, Syed Samiulla, while speaking to The Times Of India, said “They started the work for a day and then suddenly stopped it. Why does BBMP take up projects that they are not going to finish anytime soon?” Shraddha, a commuter who treads the Bangalore-Mysore road told The Logical Indian, “This road has always been a busy road, but with the process of white-topping, which never seems to end, the traffic congestion has become intolerable.” A BBMP official told The Times Of India that the work had to be stopped because of a request from Gaali-Anjaneya temple authorities who feared the construction work would impede their Ram-Navami celebrations. And later when they tried to resume the work, they were interrupted by rains and then elections.
The glitch with the project
Ever since the inception of this project, BBMP has constantly been failing to meet the deadlines. Prathaap Bhimasena Rao, popularly known as Pothole Raja, spoke to The Logical Indian, “White-topping of roads do not completely rid the roads of potholes. As the roads now have a layer of concrete, they do not let the water seep in and this after a while will result in the stagnation of water, which in turn leads to the formation of potholes. The absence of shoulder-drains flanking the white-topped roads is also going to cause issues in the near future.” While the BBMP boasts of these white-topped roads being the ultimate solution to the pothole menace as concrete roads sustain for 20-30 years, while tar roads need to be tarred every 3-4 years, Prathaap Rao reminds us, “White-topped roads are different from concrete roads. White-topped roads are tar roads with a layer of concrete on them, unlike concrete roads which are completely built of concrete, thereby we cannot expect white-topped roads to sustain for 20-30 years.” He also talks about how adding a layer of concrete on the pre-existing tar roads will alter the size of the road and will further lead to water stagnation. “The white-topped roads lack a sufficient utility duct. This shows that the government is not interested in building good roads. Rather, they are interested in making more money. And to create more bills, they are spoiling even those roads that are in good condition,” said M N Sreehari, Civil Engineer to The News Minute.
BBMP has probably been laying down lofty projects for itself or maybe is lacking a strong will to execute its projects. It’s high time BBMP takes stock of the situation and acknowledge the residents’ growing rage over the issue.