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80% of the streets of Quito have holes, fillings or patches; the Municipality prioritizes patching, due to lack of resources

60% of road maintenance machinery is out of service and the number of operating personnel is also insufficient

It is not strange to drive through streets of Quito and face the dilemma of evading a batch without the risk of hitting the car next door, a motorcycle, bumping into a passerby or hitting the road. Or fall squarely into the hole, with the usual consequences: braking, flat tires, blows to the body, passengers flying out of their posts … The Metropolitan District road network is full of surprises and demands maximum concentration: the 80% is in bad shape and it must be changed in its entirety.

The data – that eight out of ten roads must be rehabilitated – corresponds to the Municipal Mobility and Public Works Company (Epmmop). Your manager, Jorge Merlo, In an interview with EL UNIVERSO, he acknowledges it: there is not a single main avenue with an optimal level of asphalt. And explain that although the solution is resurfacing, resources for such tasks are minimal. The emergency option, for now, is the pothole, he adds.

Thus, the streets of Quito have become the scene of a permanent “plugging the gaps”, so much so that the cracks that reflect deterioration, in the words of the manager, form a kind of “crocodile skin”. When there are no craters, the roads of the Ecuadorian capital are covered by asphalt patches, some darker and more irregular than others, sometimes turning into mounds; at other times, they are hardly gray fillings that, after a short time, are those craters again that force drivers to dangerous maneuvers.

Michelle Poveda, college student, is a victim of holes. He says that while he was driving through San Juan, a popular neighborhood in the center of Quito, he fell into one that, to top it all, had even sticks out. “The tire was blown, it was no longer good for anything. Between buying a new one and the winch, I had to spend about $ 60 ″,

The same thing happened to Vanessa Soria when he went to withdraw his brother from school and, due to the rain, he did not see the pothole on Avenida Seis de Diciembre, in the La Kennedy sector. “Even the ring bent, the funny thing is that in the vulcanizer there were at least three cars with the same problem ”.

Quito is a good business for vulcanizers. Jose Luis Perez, who works as an operator in a vulcanizer located in La Floresta, confirms it: because of the holes and the rains “yes, the work has increased.”

Big ads, few resources

Both in the administration of Jorge Yunda, who was removed on September 29, and in that of Santiago Guarderas, who took office on September 30, announcements of a possible road rehabilitation have been recurrent in public statements. However the state of road infrastructure exceeds mayors’ attempts for responding to the concern of the people of Quito.

According to data from Epmmop, in the Metropolitan District (DMQ), which includes urban and rural areas, there are 11,000 public roads totaling around 8,500 kilometers. If the diagnosis is applied that 80% of the road system is collapsed, the task of the Municipality becomes gigantic, since it 8,000 roads or 6,800 kilometers would remain to be rehabilitated.

The problem is that there are not enough resources. The Epmmop, for example, has a limited or under-executed budget, it has only 28 brigades for maintenance (each one would be responsible for serving, on average, 400 routes) and has at 60% of your heavy equipment out of service, because the machinery is damaged.

“I came across a machinery graveyard ”, says Merlo, who visited the workshops a fortnight ago. There, the managers told him that what works one day, is damaged again in a short time. “We are spending more on maintenance than on acquiring new machinery.”

It is the result, says the manager, of abandonment of the last ten or fifteen years, time in which there has not been an effective road rehabilitation plan.

The former Mayor Jorge Yunda He launched during his tenure (28 months) the resurfacing plan called “Kilometer by kilometer”. Its objective reached the intervention in 56 roads in the south, 14 in the center, 39 in the north and 13 in the valleys; in total, 122 roads representing 155 kilometers. That, despite the blows of effect in front of the cameras, it represented 1.82% of the DMQ road system. And still, the plan was left unfinished.

In the Annual Operational Plan (POA) with Yunda as mayor and Guarderas as vice mayor, it was proposed that in 2021 (from January to December) the “Resurfacing or paving of at least 45 kilometers of roads.” It was also planned to maintain or rehabilitate 40 kilometers of roads and intervene 15 kilometers of roads enabled for public transport.

Jorge Merlo regrets the minimal progress achieved by the “Kilometer by kilometer” plan, as well as the legal problems of several works, some due to irregularities detected by the Comptroller’s Office, which has caused the suspension of the works.

Currently, when Guarderas has just over a year left in office, the manager explains that the priority is “an aggressive patching plan, following all technical standards”, since the rPaving requires studies and hiring processes.

During the month that he has been in office, Merlo ensures that the asphalt has been changed in 15 tracks and that the company TEA SA has been contracted for the resurfacing of another eight sections, at a cost of $ 1 million. These streets – which are still a small sample of the damaged network – belong to the Eugenio Espejo area.

Intervened Street From Until Length (in meters)
Jorge Piedra N54 Jose Sanchez 760,00
From Los Fresnos Av. December 6 Carl Nielsen 927,50
Benjamin Chavez Gaspar de Carvajal End of the road 1.132,70
Edmundo Carvajal N44A El Condor Of. La Prensa 526,00
N52 San Jose Of the Guayacanes From Los Nogales 629,00
Amagasí del Inca Of the Guayacanes From Los Nogales 690,00
N51 Of the Guayacanes E15E 415,00
October 9 Of. Patria Of. Eloy Alfaro 1.597,68
Total: 6.677,88

By 2022, Epmmop will have $ 61 million. With that amount, you must prioritize which avenues are most urgent to be attended. Until then, the aggressive gap fill plan. “As long as they do not enter total rehabilitation, (the streets) they will have to be bumpy all the time, let’s work on that. What I do guarantee is that I will execute 100% of the budget by 2022 in the attention of the roads ”, assures Merlo.

To which he adds a request to the people of Quito: “we have to ask the citizens to have a little patience, because, obviously, in these processes mobility is complicated and it is necessary to look for alternative routes to circulate ”. (I)

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