Tuesday, April 28, 2009

UNDERPASSES are the new high

UNDERPASSES are the new high
After its debut in Cauvery junction, the magic box is slowly replacing flyovers. This engineering marvel cuts costs, ensures fast work and eases traffic in the long run
Aarthi R | TNN

Bangalore: Think underpass, and you think work in progress, endlessly. But not anymore. Magic boxes have worked wonders, and today they are preferred over traditional construction or even flyovers. Initially, the first magic box at Cauvery junction may have disappointed many, but now, people have a reason to cheer — the Bellary Road stretch has become a free-flowing traffic zone. The two traditional underpasses at Puttenahalli and Kadrenahalli are still under construction.
With the magic of these quickfix underpasses having worked in Bangalore, civic authorities are no more considering the highcost, long-work flyovers. With Namme Metro tracks also going elevated at many places, flyovers are ruled out in these areas, in favour of underpasses. It’s underpasses all the way, be it conventional cut-and-cover ones or pre-cast boxes.
Earlier, underpasses would take more than three years of work with costs going beyond Rs 10-15 crore. Now, technology has ensured that magic boxes are fitted across junctions in a month at just one-eighth of the traditional cost or even less. These engineering marvels will enter core business areas and even narrow, congested lanes like Avenue Road to ease traffic.
In 2003-2004, there were plans for 45 grade separators, including 14 flyovers, a majority of them within city limits. A few of them are still under construction, hanging midway.
However, with underpasses becoming the order of the day, the BBMP has drawn up plans for at least 35 underpasses using pre-cast segmental technology on four major roads. These will be on Hosur Road, Airport Road, Dr Rajkumar Road and on the stretch from Yeshwantpur to Hope Farm. Another eight underpasses are being planned on Outer Ring Road.
According to BBMP sources, one of the main advantages of underpasses is that they ease traffic on arterial roads. “They also ensure that lateral roads are not rendered useless,” a top Palike official said. While current plans favour underpasses, a mix of flyovers and underpasses are essential for Bangalore, according to BBMP engineers.
“Although places like Kalidasa junction and Avenue Road benefit from underpasses, other areas like Banashankari, Chenamma Circle, JC Road, etc. need a flyover,” a BBMP engineer said.
“Much of it depends on feasibility. Flyovers planned earlier in a few areas are being converted to underpasses due to the elevated Metro track.”
Stronger than flyovers Take less space. Last longer. The average life span of an underpass is 80 years while that of a flyover is 40-45 years No two flyovers can be next to each other but the same is possible with underpasses
AESTHETICALLY... Does not obstruct too much of space, view
Less expensive Takes less time to build MIX OF BOTH Current plans favour underpasses
Engineers, however, say both flyovers and underpasses are essential
Underpasses best suited for Kalidasa junction and Avenue Road
Flyovers are ideal solution in Banashankari and Chenamma Circle and on JC Road and Lalbagh (front side) in Jayanagar FORGOTTEN
At CAUVERY JUNCTION — Not feasible
At TOWN HALL — Not feasible
— Due to Namma Metro
Near GPO — Due to aesthetic reasons


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