Tuesday, August 17, 2010

When will Town Hall subway be ready?

When will Town Hall subway be ready?
The project which began in 2007 to bring relief to pedestrians is two years behind schedule, now that it has missed its August 15 deadline as well
Manasi Paresh Kumar manasi.pk@timesgroup.com


Regular pedestrians at the Silver Jubilee Park junction near Town Hall will tell you just how much of a nightmare it is to cross here and how thrilled they were to hear of the pedestrian subway being built there in 2007. That’s only obvious given that the passenger car unit count here is more than 10,000 vehicles. The bad news, however, is that the subway is still not ready more than two years later.
The project, which had an original deadline of 12 months, is now competing with its counterparts at Kadirenahalli and Puttenhalli for the title of Bangalore’s most delayed project.
N Ramesh, executive engineer, projects central, attributes the delay to the rocky bed they struck when excavation began. “The entire route picked for the subway was a rock bed that had to be cleared. It could not be blasted because of the heavy traffic and we were forced to dig. Every day, we could only dig less than a quarter of an inch. So, the delay was inevitable. The cost escalation, however, did not hurt us,” he says. But private firm Parichata Constructions which got the tender at Rs 2.3 crore, has a different story. Srinivas Murthy, MD, refused to comment on the percentage of escalation but site engineers say the escalation is more than 200 per cent.
“Here is a sample. We had quoted about Rs 130 per foot for digging but when we found the rock bed, we ended up paying close to Rs 2,000 per foot. So, you do the math,” they say.
The 43.5-metre long, 7-metre wide subway is still incomplete because work has to be done on the roof of the underpass. “Unless the road is asphalted on top, we cannot complete the work inside,” say engineers.
The subway was expected to open on Independence Day, but again, the deadline has not been met.

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