Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Flyovers score low on maintenance

Flyovers score low on maintenance


— Photo: K. Murali Kumar

Death trap: A portion of the railings of the Sirsi Circle flyover in Bangalore which was broken after an accident is not repaired even after six months.

Bangalore: After roads and drains, it is now the turn of flyovers and underpasses to be added to the list of infrastructure that are poorly maintained by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).

The issue of maintenance of flyovers and underpasses crops up when the contractors’ obligation to maintain the structures built by them expires two to three years after completion of construction.

Sirsi Circle flyover, one of prestigious and the first flyover of the city, is now being cited as an example for lack of maintenance by the BBMP. Built at a cost of about Rs. 95 crore during 1998-2000, the flyover today is crying for maintenance by the BBMP. Broken expansion joints, leakage of water, clogged rain water pipes passing through piers, damaged railings, disfigured signboards and absence of proper illumination are among the problems haunting the users of this 2.8-km-long flyover from two to three years.

Though this flyover has received appreciation for its quality, its present status has reduced its popularity as many vehicles have been damaged while passing through the broken expansion joints. Leakage of water from these joints is causing nuisance to people who walk under the flyover.

It is not that the BBMP is unaware of these problems. Though action for maintenance was initiated more than a year ago, the flyover’s condition remains the same. Some officials say that speed with which the repair and maintenance works are taken up depends on the commitment and expertise of persons in charge of the responsibilities as it deals with procedures like regular inspection, assessment of damages, preparation of detailed project report, tendering, etc.

Maintenance of Sirsi Circle flyover will also be outsourced shortly. A senior engineer of the BBMP said that a private firm had submitted a detailed project report for taking up maintenance work.

According to the report, about Rs 1.5 crore is required to repair and replace the broken expansion joints of the flyovers and the government has recently permitted the BBMP to carry out the work, the engineer said pointing out that tender for this purpose has been invited and the works will be taken up within a few weeks once the contractor is identified.

However, other regular repair and maintenance work — like clearing clogged drains — which require another Rs 1.5 crore, is awaiting approval from the State Government.

In some cases, the problems crop up as the contractors who have built the flyovers fail to maintain them as per the terms of the agreement and this has been causing additional financial burden on the BBMP.

As admitted by a senior official of the BBMP, there is no mechanism in the system to keep track of maintenance by the contractors who have built the flyovers or underpasses.

Aravind Kumar, a young civil engineer, feels that the BBMP needs to plan in advance, that is before the expiry of maintenance period imposed on the builders of flyovers, the mode of future maintenance. Adoption of proper methods to clean the drains and regular inspection play a crucial role in preventing damage to the structures, says Mr. Kumar.


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