Monday, September 29, 2008

Water accumulation hits smooth flow of traffic

Water accumulation hits smooth flow of traffic

Afshan Yasmeen

Motorists forced to exercise extra caution at underpass

— Photo: K. Murali Kumar

UNDER PRESSURE: The Cauvery junction underpass has become a problem because it was ‘planned and executed in haste’.

Bangalore: After the frame of the steel girder on the floor of the “magic box” underpass near the Cauvery junction gave way in March under the weight of a loaded lorry, Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials attributed the damage to the heavy load, and quickly repaired it.

Then a water supply line passing underneath broke, and water leaked from it. The problem was again set right quickly. This time the officials said the pipeline was about 500 metres from the underpass and the leak was a “minor” one. There were no major traffic holdups on the stretch then, although drivers had to slow down.

Now, motorists driving from the Bashyam Circle side have been experiencing a similar situation for the past month as continuous leakage of water from the line accumulates around the girder. After crossing a stretch of road where the tar has been washed off at the entry to the underpass, motorists have to drive through the muddy water that has accumulated near the girder. If that is not enough, the stretch of road at the exit point near the Cauvery junction is full of potholes.
Trouble even then

The rupture of a water pipeline had caused severe problems for the underpass even as it was being built. The three-day deadline set to complete the work could not be met because of this, and the work got extended to 36 days. The facility was opened to traffic in February.

S. Gopalan and Guru Murthy, who pass through the junction every day, derided the “magic box” as more of a “matchbox”. “It is so narrow we cannot avoid the dirty water, and because of this traffic piles up at the mouth of the underpass and two-wheelers and autorickshaws have to jostle through it,” Mr Gopalan said.

“The situation is really bad when it rains. Most of the time, the area near the girder gets clogged and we have to wade through the water,” Mr. Murthy said.
Hasty planning

C.E.G. Justo, who heads the BBMP’s Technical Advisory Committee on major projects, said the problem was because this project was planned and executed in haste.

The project did not have to be referred to the committee because of its low cost, Prof. Justo told The Hindu. “The project was planned as nothing was being done to provide connectivity to the new airport then, and the BBMP was under pressure. The whole thing was done in a hurry without even [the authorities] realising that the underground water line could cause major problems in future,” he said.

He said the problem could have been avoided if the project had been planned meticulously and enough time was spent on its execution. Ideally, the underpass should have been located exactly at the Cauvery junction, he said.

BBMP Chief Engineer (Major Roads) K.S. Krishna Reddy said the seepage was because the water-table near the junction was high.

“What will happen if you cut a watermelon? Water will come out. It is the same situation here. The soil investigation had revealed there is water six feet from the ground level, and the earth has been excavated a little beyond five feet for the facility. Hence, the seepage,” he said.

He said there was a similar seepage even at the Mekhri Circle underpass. “We will temporarily repair these seepages now and take up permanent corrective measures after the monsoon,” he added.

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