BENGALURU: It was a Tuesday morning shocker when a 1 metre wide and over 5 foot-deep sinkhole appeared right above the surface of the Metro tunnel on the busy Kempegowda Road, just a few days after citizens battled heavy rains and floods.
It was only at 9.45am, when a lorry’s wheel got stuck in the sinkhole, that people noticed that a portion of the road had caved in. Some persons helped pull the lorry out, and nobody was injured.
However, police, BWSSB and BMRCL personnel reached the spot in no time.
Although Namma Metro is yet to ascertain the cause behind formation of the sinkhole, and has denied any lapse from the its side, they immediately took up restoration work to protect their tunnels from probable damage.
However, this has raised questions on whether proper soil tests were conducted and if the BMRCL rock mechanics and engineers could have prevented this.
The BMRCL did not get into collaboration with Geological Survey of India like the Delhi and Kolkata metros.
Ashok Kumar, a commuter present at the spot, said, “We somehow managed to pull the lorry out. If it were a two-wheeler or a smaller vehicle, things could have been quite different.”
As BMRCL started filling the hole with a mixture of sand, water, concrete, there was chaos and traffic jams all around KG Road as almost three metres around the sinkhole was cordoned off.
“We have filled in the sinkhole with concrete along with a chemical fixer that allows quick setting. The traffic movement should be possible as usual from Wednesday,” said Hegga Reddy, Chief Engineer of BMRCL.
The process saw 12 lorries coming in with sand and concrete throughout the day. The filling up of the sinkhole started at noon and went on till night.
Metro officials have so far not been able to figure out the reason behind the situation. Vasanth Rao, spokesperson of BMRCL, pointed out, “Our tunnels are 20 feet below the sinkhole. Apart from metro tunnels, there are many other utilities as well and digging is taken up by various civic agencies. It is difficult to say which agency’s lapse caused it. If gaps are not closed up properly, water enters and this may create a cavity, resulting in sinkhole of this kind.”
Managing Director of BMRCL Pradeep Singh Kharola said no investigation would be conducted to know what caused the sinkhole. He said, “A cavity can be formed due to any reason. Our primary aim is to ensure the safety of the pedestrians, Metro tunnels and restore traffic movement. Our engineers were on the spot as soon as we received information and made a provision to close the sinkhole.
“We will do a thorough check of our tunnels at night when the trains are not working. Most of our lines go under the road and only at Chikpet we have lines going under the buildings and this is why we have to take it slow.”