Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Cox Town wakes up to a new lifeline

Cox Town wakes up to a new lifeline

Rs16.5-crore bridge opened to public will enable uninterrupted flow of traffic, chugging of trains

Sunitha Rao R. Bangalore



At long last, the overbridge project that began in June 2006, and was set for completion in just 18 months, has opened to traffic. Chief minister BS Yeddyurappa and Union minister of state for railways H Muniyappa on Tuesday inaugurated the Cox Town Railway Over Bridge (ROB), granting easier connectivity to the central business district for an estimated 35,000 people from the city's northeast.
The ROB on Wheelers Road, completed at a cost of Rs16.5 crore, will benefit residents of Maruti Seva Nagar, Cooke Town, HRBR Layout, Banasawadi, Chikka Banasawadi, Kasturi Nagar, Kammanahalli, Ramamurthy Nagar, Kalyana Nagar, Ramaswamy Palya, and Jai Bharat Nagar, among other areas.
When first commissioned, the width of the overbridge was 5.5 metre. Residents protested, seeking that the width be increased to decongest traffic during peak hours. The width is now 7 metres.
There were several hurdles in the construction of the ROB. The ITC factory, situated next to the flyover, had resisted giving up the much-needed land for the work. After several rounds of persuasion, the ITC offered up the land in lieu of tranferable development rights (TDR). After the work was commissioned, the cost of cement and steel sky rocketed. In June 2008, contractors halted work for about six months. The price of steel had touched Rs70,000 per ton, while the contractor had quoted Rs22,000 per ton at the time of filing the tender.
Although a test drive was smooth, and the service roads too appeared well-appointed, residents complain that work remains to be done. "Construction of a pedestrian subway, a garden and a public toilet on the service road were all sanctioned along with the bridge project. These are yet to be done. Only the service road is ready, that too after protests," said NS Ravi, president of Bharati Nagar Residents' Welfare Association.
Neena Paras, a resident of Cox Town, whose home is near the bridge said, "We were tired. Construction just went on for years together. The service road below the flyover was blocked for a few months, and anti-social elements began operating from there. We hope the place will be safe again."
Though the bridge is now complete, some bottlenecks in traffic movement are expected. Traffic is likely to pile up near the Gymkhana grounds. The service roads are not of uniform width, and there are areas, near the Devi Temple on Wheelers Road, for instance, where the road is only about six feet wide. This will only allow one car to pass at a time.
The construction of the 750-metre long bridge, 7.5 metres above the railway tracks at the highest point, was funded jointly by the South Western Railway and Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike. The cost of shifting utility cables and pipes, an additional expenditure, was borne by the BBMP.

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