The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) will upgrade 60 to 70 roads in the city with mastic asphalt for smooth and speedy driving.
The State Transport department has already sanctioned Rs 10 crore to maintain the roads. Of this amount the KMC has received Rs 4 crores. The KMC has chalked out a scheme to beautify the city and the upgradation of roads is a part of it.
The important roads where the upgradation work with mastic asphalt is going on are Central Avenue, Prince Anwar Shah Road and Rashbehari connectors, Townshend Road, Shyamananda Road, and several thoroughfares in the port area. Altogether 60 to 70 roads will be upgraded with mastic asphalt. The main roads in the city cover 1800 km while the main roads along with lanes and by lanes will be 4500km.
Senior civic officials said that the longevity of the roads upgraded with mastic asphalt was more and these roads offer a smooth driving experience.
It may be recalled that former Chief Minister Jyoti Basu had often complained of potholed city roads in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He had asked the then Mayor, Prasanta Chatterjee to come up with a solution and mastic asphalt was introduced to upgrade the city roads for the first time. But it was costly so few roads particularly those used by Basu were upgraded. Basu often visited Tolly Club and so a stretch on SP Mukherjee Road was upgraded with mastic asphalt in 1994. Similarly, Broad Street that connects Gariahat Road with the Park Circus connector was also upgraded with mastic as he often visited a house situated on Broad Street. It was also found that it was not wise to use mastic asphalt to upgrade roads in areas where there was the problem of water-logging.
After coming to power in 2011, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee gave emphasis on the city’s beautification. She also instructed the civic officials to take steps to augment the speed of vehicles.
As the menace of water-logging has almost been ironed out, civic authorities took a plan to go ahead with the mastic asphalt project. Though the initial cost of upgrading roads with mastic asphalt is more as the longevity is more on the whole it becomes cost friendly. Moreover, potholes do not appear on these roads and the driving comfort even after four to five years remains almost same.
The work that has been undertaken will be completed by May before the onset of monsoon, senior civic officials said. Mayor Sovan Chatterjee said that the KMC was committed to give better facilities to the people and roads would be upgraded with mastic asphalt to offer them comfortable ride.