Tuesday, August 03, 2010

A solution full of problems

A solution full of problems

K.C. Deepika
The Benniganahalli underpass is adding to traffic woes instead of easing them
— Photo: K. Murali Kumar

Hanging fire:Work on the underpass on Old Madras Road at Benniganahalli near Krishnarajapuram has come to a halt.
BANGALORE: Flyovers and underpasses have become easy solutions to the city's traffic woes.

However, these supposed-to-be solutions turn into obstacles owing to prolonged delays in completion. The Benniganahalli underpass near K.R. Puram is one such case.

Two years ago, the Union Ministry for Road Transport and Highways sanctioned Rs. 12.1 crore for the underpass. Aimed at easing traffic jams caused due to the bottleneck under the railway track, the collaborative project of the South Western Railways (SWR) and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) seems to have hit a roadblock.

Today, the yet-to-be extended approach road towards K.R. Puram and ITPL is a dilapidated stretch blocked by giant, corroded pipes at the end. This has caused considerable discomfort to users of the arterial Old Madras Road connecting information technology hubs like Whitefield to the city.

Distress and discomfort

T. Govindarajan, who has a shop near the underpass, said the road towards Whitefield that had been levelled earlier was dug up again last week. “They dug it up again and have not come back after that,” he said. He said the road gets clogged during peak hour. “Traffic moves at snail's pace. This road really needs widening,” he said.

Pedestrians seem to be the worst hit as there is no footpath. “Vehicles occupy even the last inches of space. Pedestrians have to risk their lives. And when it rains, the slush from the non-asphalted road of the underpass adds to the misery,” said Murali. M.

If not anything else, the underpass is being used for parking. But its current state has nullified that possibility too.

Coordination issues

Meanwhile, the authorities have been struck by coordination problems. The SWR, which is usually criticised for being notorious in pushing deadlines, said they have completed the bridge and the onus of construction of roads is on the NHAI.

On the other hand, sources in NHAI said the process of land acquisition, an important aspect of the project, has been taken care of.

Passing the buck

NHAI also passed the buck to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), saying the palike had been given the responsibility of constructing approaches.

However, Deputy Mayor N. Dayanand, who was elected from the Benniganahalli ward, maintained that no aspect of the construction of the underpass came under the BBMP. “The project is entirely under the jurisdiction of the railways,” he said.

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