Malé City’s badly damaged roads are getting a long-anticipated makeover, with the housing ministry promising a more efficient storm water drainage system, fire hydrants, new pavement blocks and access for the disabled on rebuilt streets.
A three-block segment on the western end of Malé’s thoroughfare, Majeedhee Magu, was closed off on Saturday as part of the MVR15million (US$972,700) project to repair and upgrade the capital city’s roads.
Workers are removing pavement blocks and will be levelling the ground before laying new blocks.
Majeedhee Magu will be divided into nine segments and each segment will be closed for two weeks, according to a four-month schedule posted online by the housing ministry.
A timeline for the ‘Malé Road Redevelopment Project’ and traffic rerouting maps have also been shared by the ministry. The mobile phone app, “Faseyha Magu,” posts live updates on road closures in the city.
A total of 13 main roads in Malé will be repaired and rebuilt under the two-year project.
They include Ameenee Magu, Ameer Ahmed Magu, Chaandhanee Magu, Orchid Magu, Lonuziyaaraiy Magu, Haveeree Hingun, Handhuvaree Hingun, Izzuhdeen Magu, Kan’baa Aisa Rani Hingun and Buruzu Magu.
The last road is expected to be completed by September 2018.
The ministry said it will build sidewalk ramps for the disabled and improve water drainage systems. Underground cables will be raised to the sidewalks to end the current practice of digging up the streets to fix faults in electricity and internet cables and sewage pipes
Flooding of Malé’s roads after heavy rainfall has also been a persistent problem. Some MVR5 million (US$324,200) was allocated in the budget for “storm water development and maintenance.”
In late August, residents of the Maafannu ward had raised concerns over sewage from junctions overflowing out to the streets. Civic planners blamed the lack of foresight and outdated infrastructure in the densely populated capital island.
The road repair project is funded from taxes, and is among MVR219 million (US$14 million) allocated to the housing ministry for a host of projects in the capital, including a new artificial beach, an industrial village and wasteyard harbour, and 10 parking lifts.
Road construction is also ongoing in 11 islands in eight atolls. Some MVR560 million (US$36 million) was allocated in the budget for the projects, which were awarded to the state-owned Maldives Roads Development Corporation, according to state media.
The housing ministry has meanwhile come under fire over a 700-meter jogging track developed near the Rasfannu beach on Malé’s western waterfront.
The project was awarded to a Singaporean company to be completed on July 26. But a local company was later enlisted to repair the track after the synthetic rubber layer unravelled.
The company was reportedly due to complete the repair work last week but expects a week’s delay due to bad weather.