The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has again developed a change of heart over the Marine Drive resurfacing work.
The civic body now wants to go ahead with its original plan of resurfacing the road, using a 40-mm layer of mechanised mastic and cement, instead of complete concretisation.
The BMC defends its flip-flop, saying the latest move would bring down the budget to around Rs50 crore from the estimated Rs150 crore for concretisation.
The road is now in a very bad shape as no repair work has been undertaken for over a year and eight months because of the BMC flip-flop. The BMC had given up the mastic-and-cement plan, after the roads department, in consultation with IIT Powai, considered the option of resurfacing the 4.3-km road with rich cement.
“If we stick to the use of cement concrete and strengthening drainage lines beneath it, the entire work will take 3-4 years to complete. Hence, we are going back to the original plan as suggested by the standing technical advisory committee (STAC),” additional municipal commissioner SVR Srinivas said.
“We plan to float the tenders in a month. Ideally, once the proposal is approved by the committee, actual work should be over in a year,” Srinivas said.
Civic activists slammed the BMC for the delay. However, they want the corporation not to engage in any ‘touch-up’ work on the city’s favourite haunt. “Whenever you go to Marine Drive, you feel proud of the arterial road. Hence, even if it takes time, the road should be rebuilt properly, matching the people’s sentiment,” Nikhil Desai, member of city NGO AGNI, said.
The road map
The BMC had decided to improve Marine Drive after complaints of its deteriorating riding quality, owing to the ad hoc patchwork over the years.
The civic body had allotted Rs36 crore for the resurfacing work and a budgetary provision of Rs15 crore during 2012-13. With the revised rates, the work may cost around Rs50 crore.
As per the old plan, 70% of the road (between Girgaum Chowpatty and Madame Cama Road) is to be made of mechanised mastic, and the remaining stretch, up to NCPA, will be of cement concrete. The mechanised mastic contains high bitumen content and has more life than the ordinary asphalt road.
The cracks will be filled first, before covering it with geo-synthetic layer. The work will be carried out in phases.