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Old 21st September 2017, 16:45   #1
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Default Killer potholes claim 11,386 lives in 4 years

Accidents due to potholes are reported to have claimed 11,386 lives in India over the last four years.

According to the data compiled by the ministry of road transport and highways, between the years 2013 and 2016, the state of Uttar Pradesh had the highest number of pothole-related deaths (3,428) followed by Maharashtra (1,410), Madhya Pradesh (1,244), West Bengal (783), Bihar (659), Gujarat (597), Andhra Pradesh (497), Tamil Nadu (481), Rajasthan (440) and Punjab (367). Some states have a higher number of fatalities due to the traffic volume, length of road network and rate of rainfall.

The year wise annual fatality figures for the country are 2,607 in 2013, 3,039 in 2014, 3,416 in 2015 and 2,324 in 2016. The actual figures could be even more as most of the accidents go unreported and the police rarely record such cases as pothole-related incidents. Further, in many states, there is not even a provision to record accidents as pothole-related. According to a lawyer in the Madras High Court, the government agencies are liable to pay compensation to victims of accidents caused by potholes.

Potholes are formed due to the shoddy materials used and improper maintenance of roads. The life of a road gets further reduced due to water-logging, poor construction and frequent digging.

Killer potholes claim 11,386 lives in 4 years-potholes.jpg

Source - Times of India

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Last edited by blackwasp : 21st September 2017 at 16:47.
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Old 21st September 2017, 17:33   #2
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Default Re: Killer potholes claim 11,386 lives in 4 years

Over the past few years the only talk over the media has been about how India is gaining popularity the world over. How we are the next big thing. How we will beat China and turn into an economic powerhouse.

However, when you look at the most basic level. We don't even have proper roads still lol. I was having this interesting argument with one of my old friend's who asked me to look at the current speed of progress our country is going through.

I made a funny face and said, how exactly is that progress helping you on a very personal level? Do we even have proper roads yet? Is proper infrastructure not a part of this so called progress? He didn't have much of a response however this fact remains true.

We have horrible roads and things tend to get worse once the rains hit. I am already scared of buying another low slung car because of this and things get even worse for people on two wheels.
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Old 21st September 2017, 17:55   #3
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Default Re: Killer potholes claim 11,386 lives in 4 years

So sad is the state of things that I will say that the numbers are surprisingly LOW!! I would have expected them to be in ten thousands at each state level rather than at national level.

A lot of accidents are also caused by pot holes as root cause in various ways.
1. Drivers swerving to avoid potholes
2. Damaged vehicle parts over time due to potholes suddenly failing
3. A driver slowing down for potholes getting tail-gated / piled up
and so many more.

And we cannot forget the infinite number of people that will suffer with -
1. Permanent severe disabilities
2. Permanent / very long term back / neck disorders
3. Restricted movements

While the responsible parties are busy collecting road taxes, tolls etc.
Potholes filled with DIRT or large ROCKS! I don't think that happens in any country at comparable development level as India.
The sheer lack of will shown by the road contractors to do something good for the people for the money that the people are paying from hard earnings is appalling...
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Old 21st September 2017, 18:06   #4
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Default Re: Killer potholes claim 11,386 lives in 4 years

Why is it not possible for contractor's information to be publicly available and to file a case against the contractor for such poor construction? There is a flyover that is no more than a couple of years old in North Bangalore connecting the highway to Yelahanka and from its inception itself it had uneven expansion joints which meant your ride over the flyover was guaranteed to be bumpy and now it has got massive potholes at the beginning and end of one side and the beginning of the other side its just crazy in only 2 years a modern flyover has such problems
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Old 21st September 2017, 18:50   #5
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Default Re: Killer potholes claim 11,386 lives in 4 years

Soon, technology will be able to solve this problem.

Approach #1:
a) Knowing the existing potholes, and being alert to that:
Potholes are everywhere in our country, and drivers usually are quite aware about that. However, in some cases, it is difficult to identify them quick enough resulting in casualties.
Google has filed a patent to plot the location of the pothole through the Car's GPS. Not sure if there are any latest developments.
Link to the News Article

What we can do now, is to see the traffic, and if there are any yellows ahead in the map, we should know that there could be some potholes and we can slow down and be alert. This can be useful in highways.

Approach #2:
Alerting officials to fix the pothole as soon as possible.
BBMP had launched a mobile app to track potholes under 'I change my city' initiative. Don't know if someone is using it, and raising complaints. Probably in the future all this will work in an automated way (Such as, A car hits a pothole, takes that info and automatically files a complaint with the concerned etc.)

For our country, potholes are everywhere, and if they are reported, how soon they will act is the question. Most roads needs to be completely laid again.
Moreover, random digging of the roads by various departments need to stop.
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Old 21st September 2017, 19:02   #6
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Default Re: Killer potholes claim 11,386 lives in 4 years

Sad to see Maharashtra in the top place (almost). A state that collects crores of road tax, taxes its citizens beyond an ethical line and still lies in the last place. The roads in Pune are so very bad that its a mental struggle to understand why we live in a hell like this. We pay taxes on income, food, fuel and almost everything except the air that we breathe...and yet, we are the ones that suffer the most.

Last year, I had been to Thailand for a road trip and it was a revelation. We rode bikes for almost 1800 km but nowhere did we find bad roads or potholes. We went bang in the middle of the rains and I can certainly say that the rains are the same intensity (perhaps more) there. If a small country like Thailand can be so good, why can't ours with infinite resources and heavy taxes do?

I do not think that there is any solution to the bad roads problem as irrespective of whoever comes to power, they can only tax us and undermine the importance of good infrastructure.
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Old 21st September 2017, 19:14   #7
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Default Re: Killer potholes claim 11,386 lives in 4 years

Spare a thought for the poor contractor. He has to put in a low bid to win the contract. Out of that amount, he has to pay the transport minister, the municipality biggies, the engineer, the pwd, and the myriad other agencies who need their pounds of flesh(cash). After that he has a meager amount left with which to build the road, (not to forget his own profit).
How selfish of you to expect roads that last more than a year (or the next monsoon, whichever is earlier) given this?
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Old 21st September 2017, 19:57   #8
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Default Re: Killer potholes claim 11,386 lives in 4 years

Quote:
Originally Posted by nd4$pd View Post
Spare a thought for the poor contractor. He has to put in a low bid to win the contract. Out of that amount, he has to pay the transport minister, the municipality biggies, the engineer, the pwd, and the myriad other agencies who need their pounds of flesh(cash). After that he has a meager amount left with which to build the road, (not to forget his own profit).
How selfish of you to expect roads that last more than a year (or the next monsoon, whichever is earlier) given this?
This is actually what happens. In Gujarat, to get over the paucity of profits after giving cuts, contractors get the chance to dig up roads they laid a few months ago and redo everything with the excuse of laying cables, pipes etc. This happens every year and it happens before the monsoon, so that they also get to earn from road repairs.

The fact that so many people die should come as a shock to us, but I'm sure few people care about it (until someone from the family gets hurt). The biggest threat is posed to two wheeler riders- no helmet can save your neck if you get tossed off a bike that fell into a pothole and you were at 40+ km/hr. I gave up riding two wheelers after tripping over an uneven road surface (stone filled pothole) in Ahmedabad and injuring myself. Thankfully, I was at a low speed.

What surprises me is how tolerant people are about these things. Gujarat is much better in this regard. In West Bengal, we weren't able to cover the Kolkata Digha stretch during the monsoon season of 2011- our Esteem kept hitting the puddle filled 10 inch deep holes in the road and we did not want to torture her needlessly. We drove back after 150 kilometers. The stretch under NH was good. The SH was a mangled mess. I wondered how the IAS officers who traveled that stretch to visit their districts tolerated it- it must have been equally bad for them in their Govt. provided Innova(s). Yet, they continue to allow this to persist. Even today, from what I heard from someone who used that road recently, things are largely the same.

Technology will help us graduate from this school of mediocre governance. I saw about automatic pothole repairs. By the time the next generation gets to drive, I'm sure they'll have safer roads.
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Old 21st September 2017, 22:40   #9
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Default Re: Killer potholes claim 11,386 lives in 4 years

Another reason why I have given up on 2-wheels. Ever increasing reports of accidents due to potholes has scarred me enough to keep my Vespa in once place for the last 3+ months. I must have barely done 10 kms on her this month.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nd4$pd View Post
Spare a thought for the poor contractor.
Without taking any names, I know many infrastructure companies (contractors) that are owned by relatives of people holding office. They basically route tax payers money to their pockets by an elaborate guise. For example, the why does the richest municipal body in India need to actually give out contracts? They can simply purchase the machinery and do the work themselves.

On the other hand, I also know of honest people who did good work, but were slowly pushed to bankruptcy due to the various bribes asked to clear papers / grant permissions.

Funnily, on my recent Spiti trip, I found the conditions of the road way better than the ones here in Mumbai. Some stretches were good enough to be classified as race tracks!

Consider this - BRO (Border Roads Organisation) maintains roads in much severe conditions not just in India but also in friendly countries. Why aren't road contracts given to such reputablable organisations?

Last edited by blackwasp : 21st September 2017 at 22:46.
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Old 21st September 2017, 23:02   #10
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Default Re: Killer potholes claim 11,386 lives in 4 years

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackwasp View Post

They can simply purchase the machinery and do the work themselves.

On the other hand, I also know of honest people who did good work, but were slowly pushed to bankruptcy due to the various bribes asked to clear papers / grant permissions.

(Border Roads Organisation) maintains roads in much severe conditions not just in India but also in friendly countries. Why aren't road contracts given to such reputablable organisations?
It is all about discipline. When Rollers and other equipment were owned by the municipal bodies, they misued it. That's why the government now wants to rely on subcontracting.

The BRO is an exceptional organization. They are influenced by the army discipline and do not compromise. The municipal corporations do not care.
I've seen tractors, rollers and dumper trucks rotting in municipal corporation graveyards. They do not care about utilizing public money well.
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Old 21st September 2017, 23:14   #11
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The problem lies in the fact that the road infrastructure development has not been able to keep pace with the burgeoning rise in the number of vehicles. Also due to rampant corruption at all levels of road infrastructure development the situation has gone from bad to worse. The roads which are being constructed are of sub standard quality thus giving way in short duration of time due to traffic pressure and vagaries of nature. A classic example of this often repeated corruption episode is the newly constructed international airport road which connects Chandigarh City to the new terminal of international airport. The road which was constructed only a year a go at a whopping budget of INR 100 crore has sunk at many points due to fault in alignment. The road has been constructed over black cotton soil surface.

Black cotton soil is one of major soil deposits of India. It exhibits high rate of swelling and shrinkage when exposed to changes in moisture content and hence has been found to be most troublesome from engineering consideration. Hence no road laid over black cotton soil can survive for long. It would be pertinent to mention here that fertile farmland was acquired for the construction of the road. According to the design specifications, the road should have been constructed after digging one meter deep by removing black cotton soil and then subsequently filling the dug up area with sand. But due to embezzlement of funds and irregularities, the rules were given a go by and the road was directly laid over the black cotton soil. And the result is there for everyone to see.

The monsoon rainfall lead to seepage of water in the black soil thus leading to sinkage of road at many points. Now as a precautionary measure a 6 km stretch of the road has been closed for traffic. And as usual it is the same old story with a vigilance probe being underway to detect corruption. And it is anybody's guess that nothing substantial will come out of the probe and the things will be back to square one. Needless to say, corruption has become an integral part of the system and the public has got too used to the inconvenience it faces.

Last edited by ssambyal1980 : 21st September 2017 at 23:34.
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Old 22nd September 2017, 11:22   #12
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Default Re: Killer potholes claim 11,386 lives in 4 years

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackwasp View Post
Accidents due to potholes are reported to have claimed 11,386 lives in India over the last four years.
Am sure an overwhelming majority of these fatalities (like 90%) are two-wheeler riders. In a car, you'll suffer suspension, wheel or tyre damage. On a two-wheeler, a bad pothole can mean loss of balance + fall.

It's not a problem only in India though. I remember potholes being just as bad in Boston; had lost the right-side tyre of my Accord after hitting a freeway pothole at speed in heavy rain (link 1 & link 2).
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Old 22nd September 2017, 12:17   #13
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Default Re: Killer potholes claim 11,386 lives in 4 years

There are a few spots and roads in Bangalore, which get completely eroded away after every heavy rain.
Is there a reason why such roads cannot be constructed using concrete? I assume concrete lasts longer than asphalt/tar.
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Old 22nd September 2017, 12:25   #14
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Default Re: Killer potholes claim 11,386 lives in 4 years

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There are a few spots and roads in Bangalore, which get completely eroded away after every heavy rain.
Is there a reason why such roads cannot be constructed using concrete? I assume concrete lasts longer than asphalt/tar.
Easier still. The primary reason for this erosion is too much stagnated / running water on that part of the road due to the elevation / vegetation around that area.

The fix is painfully simple. Just put a basic pipe under that part of the road across - even a 6 incher is enough in most cases - and arrange for some basic drainage to ensure the water goes away from that part of the road into a drain or ditch sufficiently far away. The road will be absolutely fine.

Stagnant water always damages tar road by loosening the bonding between the ingredients that are only marginally hot-pressed.

The solution is known. But if you fix it - you cannot give regular contracts to your preferred road contractors to "repair" the roads or to do "high quality resurfacing" of that patch.

Last edited by Reinhard : 22nd September 2017 at 12:31.
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Old 22nd September 2017, 12:47   #15
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Default Re: Killer potholes claim 11,386 lives in 4 years

Substandard material used in ‘killer’ Chandigarh Airport Road: Punjab Vigilance Bureau

Quote:
At least 11 accidents have taken place on Airport Road since January, in which two people have lost their lives. The road is riddled with pits making it a commuters’ nightmare.
Related News Links:
http://www.hindustantimes.com/punjab...OFs614x3N.html

http://www.hindustantimes.com/punjab...OBfhDO4fL.html

Courtesy: Hindustan Times
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