Tuesday, September 29, 2009

DANGEROUS MAGIC

DANGEROUS MAGIC
The pre-cast magic box on Sanjay Nagar underpass shrank by more than three inches following recent rains. On Sunday, it led to the first fatality. More danger awaits vehicles on this stretch, which accommodates 2,800 passenger car units every hour
ATUL CHATURVEDI & SAMEER RANJAN BAKSHI


The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) introduced the much-touted magic box technology to provide seamless connectivity to Bengaluru International Airport (BIA). But just months after various underpasses became functional, serious inherent shortcomings have come to the fore, with potentially calamitous fallout.
FIRST CASUALTY
The Sanjay Nagar underpass has shrunk for the second time in less than 48 days. It had shrunk by an inch on Aug 10. It has shrunk by three more inches now. More than 2,800 passenger car units cross this underpass every hour. On Sunday, the uneven surface resulted in a casualty when a two-wheeler fell under the underpass and the pillion rider succumbed to injuries. The incident took place when the deceased, Lakshmi (31) of Manjunath Layout, R T Nagar, was returning home along with her husband and kid. Police said, the driver lost control when negotiating the shrunk part of the underpass. REPAIR WORK ON
After the shocking incident, RT Nagar traffic police knocked on BBMP’s doors to initiate necessary action. ACP traffic (North) S N Gangadhar said, “We have asked BBMP to undertake immediate repair.” On Monday, vehicles were not allowed to use the underpass, while those moving on the surface were also diverted.
Confirming the shrinkage, a BBMP official said, “Yes, it has shrunk by nearly three inches. We expected this as it was the first monsoon showers since construction. One of the pre-cast elements supporting a concrete slab has shrunk. Now, we are in the process of replacing it with wet mix macadam.” However, BBMP executive engineer (underpass cell) M S Vishwanath said, “We have closed the road for traffic as we are undertaking deflection test. This is necessary to study the nature of vehicles moving over the surface pass. We had requested cops to divert traffic. By Tuesday, vehicles will be allowed to move over the underpass and also take a U-turn.”
Major magic boxes at Bellary road
Le Meridian junction BDA junction Cauvery junction Sanjay Nagar junction CBI junction RT Nagar
Other magic boxes Maharani College junction KR Circle junction BEWARE OF QUICK-FIXES
In the run-up to the BIA inauguration last year, BBMP went ahead with pre-cast magic boxes on Bellary road, starting from Cauvery junction underpass. Sanjay Nagar underpass was constructed using 4.5 metre pre-cast RCC structures, to ease traffic at various bottlenecks. It was opened just six months ago after spending nearly Rs 2 crore. A month back, traffic police brought various deficiencies to the attention of the BBMP.
But ‘shortcut after shortcut’ seemed to be the mantra of BBMP. It repaired the shrinkage of the surface pass within a single day and then allowed traffic to continue as usual.
A traffic police manning the circle said, “BBMP used pre-cast elements, cutting down on money, time and traffic hassles, but who will be held responsible if an underpass falls?

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