Holey hell for Bogotá's road users
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Holey hell for Bogotá's road users

Dangerous driving is not being currently blamed for accidents in the Colombian capital, rather, it is the state of its roads.

In a 2012 scheme, local councils were to assign 40 percent of their budget to improving road surfaces, a total of 169 billion pesos (approximately $62,000). In February this year, works were only 33 percent complete, according to national newspaper El Tiempo.

The state of Bogotá’s roads are so dire, that current Mayor Gustavo Petro has even termed the holes as “damaging and deadly”, Colombia’s Publimetro reported.

Motorbike users are the worst hit, as crashes involving at least one bike made up 73 percent of accidents reported between 2013 and 2014.

“We need to ensure pedestrian road safety, avoiding that accidents are a result of poor road surfaces, so that local communities aren’t affected by lack of maintenance and benefit from improved mobility”. Juan Carlos Abreo Beltrán, head of the capital’s Road Maintenance Unit (UMV) commented.

Bogotá’s road surface has even provoked a social media backlash, as drivers can report and update pothole locations via Twitter.

The capital’s Urban Development Unit (IDU) has recorded over 7,500 potholes and “craters” in the city’s main roads, set to be repaired over the course of the next four months.


Bogotá’s IDU outlines which areas of the city require road-surface repair. Photo: IDU

But will this total be met? Or will it add to the catalogue of woes faced by commuters on a daily basis, as both the city’s Transmilenio transport system and proposed metro plans have come under scrutiny, along with Petro’s leadership.

Read more: Bogotá’s never-ending metro saga drags on

The political problems behind Bogotá’s road surface issues have also taken a turn for the worse, as previous UMV director María Gilma Gómez Sánchez has been sanctioned for failure to repair the capital’s roads.

The director chose to use machinery over man-power, which proved to be less than efficient.

For now, at least, road users face a daily gauntlet during their drive to work, in addition to high pollution levels and congested roads.

The city’s transport network could soon grind to a resounding halt if measures aren’t undertaken to deal with its high volume of commuters.