Sunday, July 04, 2010

2-km stretch, 101 obstacles

2-km stretch, 101 obstacles
It takes half an hour to negotiate this back-breaking stretch on Old Madras Road, but both BBMP and BWSSB care a damn

On an average, five to seven thousand passenger car units (PCU) traverse the two-kilometre stretch of Old Madras Road from Trinity Junction to Indiranagar every hour. It’s the road connecting the Central Business District with east Bangalore and Information Technology Park-Bangalore (ITPB) that houses hundreds of IT companies. It’s also the road that has 101 potholes on a stretch of two kilometres.
How do we know? We counted. And in some instances, we measured the diameter of some of these potholes. The largest one stretched across nine metres. Most craters are filled with water and the seepage has eroded the bitumen. If it weren’t fraught with real danger, the sight of twowheeler drivers negotiating and often failing on this crater-filled road would make for the world’s funniest video.
Devesh, a techie working in Philips Innovation Centre, takes almost half an hour on his Honda Activa to negotiate the stretch. He does this daily, and jokes that soon he’ll need shock absorbers fitted into his lower spine. Ganesh Kambar, Asset Manager, RMZ Ecospace, says, “I was driving on this road to attend an important meeting, but I just couldn’t hurry. It took me more than 40 minutes to cross the stretch and I missed my meeting.”
He was lucky, he was only delayed. In the time we were on that road, we witnessed several small accidents.
Prof M N Sreehari, whose institute studies roads and conducts studies on traffic, says, “Potholes result in abrupt change in alignment which affects the movement of vehicles. The various potholes on Old Madras Road make it an accident-prone zone.”
Adding to the to woes is the Metro work in neighbouring CMH Road, as a result of which traffic has been diverted on Old Madras Road. Those heading to Indiranagar, KR Puram and Hoskote have to take this road.
The main reason for the road’s dismal condition is a faulty pipe that runs beneath the road. The BWSSB had laid a water pipeline in the 1980s from Highground reservoir to Indiranagar. Because of heavy traffic movement, the pipeline has been damaged and water is leaking continuously. BBMP officials blamed BWSSB for not repairing it. BBMP’s chief engineer (east) S Somashekar said, “I admit it’s a horrible road riddled with potholes but we cannot do much as the fault lies with BWSSB. As the pipeline below the road is continuously leaking, it is damaging the road. Though we have met every official from top to bottom in BWSSB, none of them have acted so far. Unless BWSSB acts, BBMP is helpless.”
On his part, BWSSB Chief Engineer (maintenance) T Venkataraj said they were “planning to award a fresh tender but had yet to get permission from BBMP and the police.” The police had a different story to spin. Ulsoor traffic inspector M C Kavita said, “Firstly, I have not received any request from BWSSB. Secondly, BWSSB is notorious for not completing work on time. If BWSSB blocks this arterial road, then how can we manage traffic heading East?” Meanwhile, if you’re headed on that road, go armour-plated. You’ve been fore-warned.


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