Friday, October 23, 2009

Abracadabra, says NICE!

Abracadabra, says NICE!
The Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise is installing magic boxes, criticism notwithstanding

In spite of drawing flak from both the government and the people, the magic box or instant underpass, the much touted discovery of former BBMP Commissioner Dr Subramanya, is back in the news once again! The Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE) is in the process of installing the boxes in certain parts of the NICE Road stretch. At a time when many have condemned the technology including officials from NICE, the adoption of the magic box technology by NICE has kicked off a debate among civic planners.
With the aim of maintaining a free flow of traffic and providing a safe passage for rain water around their construction sites, the engineers are setting up instant underpasses at various locations on the lines of the magic box technology. Speaking to Bangalore Mirror, a senior official from NICE said, “These are more or less like magic boxes but are not magic boxes in the strict sense of the term. The ones used by the BBMP were fully precast but ours are only partially pre-cast with the rest of the boxes being built adopting the in-situ (casting in place) technology.”
According to sources, NICE has come up with three different varieties of the magic box. One variant is the water inflow box while the other two variants help in accommodating pedestrians and regulating vehicular traffic. The pre-cast technology has been adopted only to avoid disruption of traffic on several important roads that pass through the NICE project area between Hosur Road and Tumkur Road, explained an official.
Explaining the technology, a NICE official said, “The magic boxes used by the BBMP had pre-cast material on all their four sides. But the ones which we are using are just partially pre-cast. At places where the project site includes water bodies, the small culvert measuring 1.5 mts by 2 mts has been replaced by large magic boxes measuring 5.5 mts by 9.5 mts. At several stretches involving the main roads like Mysore road, Kanakapura road and others, the bridges have been constructed using pre-cast technology.”
“We are pre-casting only the U-shaped beams that are laid over the vertical structures. We are constructing side walls at the site itself and only then is the top surface covered using pre-cast beams. Only the cross beams that dot our bridges and underpasses are pre-cast and the remaining structures are built on the spot. Recently, the Karnataka Road Development Corporation (KRDC) had also come up with the idea of using pre-casting technology for bridges,” said an official from NICE.
When asked about NICE’s adoption of the magic box technology, a senior official said, “Technology should be used sensibly. We will make use of the technology to provide an outlet for rainwater. If you allow vehicles instead of water into such magic boxes, obviously, the idea will fall flat on its face and add to the already prevailing chaos. The technology is being adopted keeping in mind the high density traffic. You cannot divert the traffic and if you block the traffic, people will be affected. Hence, the use of pre-cast material to a certain extent will prevent such chaos.”


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