Friday, April 28, 2006

Bridging the distance

Bridging the distance
New over-bridges and under-passes will make crossing railway tracks safer and decongest traffic in the city
The Times of India

Level crossingsare passé. Railway under-bridges and overbridges are in. The Bangalore City Corporation (BCC) and the South Western Railways are working in tandem to replace obsolete railway crossings with well-lit, technologically strong under-bridges and over-brides at strategic locations in the city.

"The project of construction of new bridges and the widening of existing underbridges was envisaged seven years ago and the general alignment was done in 2002," says the BCC's Technical Advisor, R Jayaprasad. The Rs 50 crore project of the Railways and BCC was included in the BCC's budget this year and is scheduled to be completed within 18 months. "The plan to widen the existing narrow Rajajinagar under-bridge was already on BCC's agenda and we were waiting for the sanction from the railway department," he said. Although work on some under-bridges are nearly complete, tenders for some more works is being done in phases.

Three railway over-bridges at Lingarajapuram, ITC Factory and Banaswadi have been completed along with under-bridges at Frazer Town. The under-bridge at Cantonment Station will be completed in four months. The new proposal for construction of over-bridges at NES Bridge, Jalahalli and Bayapanahalli has been floated. Three more over-bridges at Gangondanahalli and Bapujinagar are in the pipeline. Two box-type railway underbridges - one near the RR Kalyan Mantap and the other near the Khoday Circle - will help straighten and shorten the present circuitous route leading from the Rajajinagar entrance underpass.

A major area for the joint project, nearly five to six acres, passes through land belonging to the Railways. Hence, the Railways wanted a comprehensive scheme for its passengers included in the project. As a result, a signal-free traffic from the Rajajinagar entrance underpass right up to the Majestic Bus Terminal and the City Railway Station is in the offing. This is one part of an extensive plan that encompasses a new city railway station for Mysore-bound trains, two inter-linked flyovers and the four-laning of the Okalipuram Road.

The railway overbridges will be bolstered by a host of technical features which include piles, piers, pilcaps, girders, decks and railings. The dividers along the overbridges will be painted with flourescent solution imported from Korea. The paint will be visible from a distance of over 10 feet and will prevent vehicles from crashing into the dividers. Each of the railway underbridges will have a series of planned approaches 150 to 250 metres long. The approach gradient will be rise from one metre to 30 metres. Reinforced concrete is being used for a solid construction.

"The latest box-pushing method is being used in the construction of railway underbridges," said Jayaprasad. Pre-cast concrete and steel blocks weighing 350 tonnes each, and measuring five metres in width and four metres in height, are pushed into position using jacks. Twelve jacks are used to push each of the three blocks into position for each underbridge. "Our men have been working through nights to complete the work and there has been no traffic disruption at any point. Except, on one occasion, we had to stop railway traffic on one line at Cantonment when there was slippage of earth," he said. Costwise too, railway underbridges work out cheaper compared to overbridges. Each of these will be lit with power-saving tubelights for better visibility.

With the BCC's initiative to improve the city's infrastructure, the railway overbridges and underbridges will help reduce traffic congestion and make commuting safer.

Features of BCC-Railways programme

Construction of railway overbridges (ROB) and railway underbridges (RUB)

ROB at Banaswadi - down ramps and widening (Salem line)
ROB at Nagavara (Salem line)
ROB near ITC (Salem line)
ROB near Lingarajapuram (Salem line)
ROB/RUB in Bapujinagar - RPC Layout (Mysore line)
ROB/RUB in Byapanahalli (Chennai line)
ROB near Gangondanahalli (Mysore line)
RUB near Khoday Circle (City Railway Station line)
ROB near Mathikere (Guntkal line)
ROB/RUB near Papanna Block

Widening of RUB
Straight alignment near Rajajinagar entrance Near Anjaneya Temple - Sriramapuram (Tumkur line)
Near Cantonment (Jolarpet line)
Second vent of Frazer Town police station (Jolarpet line)
Papanna Block Pedestrian subway at Swathantrapalya (Tumkur line)


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