BENGALURU: An eight-lane project was inaugurated by the chief minister before construction work was completed, as the elections are upon us. This has created commotion among the public, who claim that the opening of the first lane before the completion of the project has affected traffic flow.
The project was proposed as a measure to widen the Okalipuram roads and to avoid traffic congestion. The contract was given to Simplex Infrastructure as an initiative by urban development sectors. It was expected to accommodate ten lakh people every day. Hopes were also high to open the gate for a signal-free corridor at Bhashyam Circle and KR Circle.
Seven years after the initial proposal, the flyover was indefinitely delayed after two pillars were raised, and the reason for this was the escalation in construction cost. This led to fear among motorists as the underpass was unsteady. The water pipe leakages added to commuters’ woes.
Later, it was announced that the bridge would take another year to be completed because of the upgradation process of the Krantivira Sangoli Rayanna Station bridge. With a budget of `115 crores initially, the proposed eight-lane project wasn’t complete. The budget then skyrocketed to to `226 crores. Though the BBMP promised to finish the work within the deadline — December 2016 — the shifting required involvement from the BWSSB and BESCOM, which furthered the delay.
Traffic uncontrollable: Citizens
The BBMP had all hopes to finish the project by the end of 2017. Residents who felt the need for eight-lane project earlier are disappointed now as the rush has affected their travel.
“Water filled up in the underpass fifteen days back when there was heavy rain. Traffic could not be controlled and it took more than four hours to get it cleared. It is frustrating that the construction process is going on and on for years, but no visible progress is seen yet. It is very hard for pedestrians and motorists to move through the pass,” says Chandan K, a shopkeeper at Okalipuram.
He adds that the problem could be resolved only if the contract is handed over to a private company. Though the development minister had threatened to impose a penalty, no movement has been made.
‘Traffic cops can’t be blamed’
“Ambulances and fire engines are delayed if this route is chosen. The traffic is uncontrollable at peak hours, and traffic cops aren’t to be blamed, as they try their best to ease congestion. The problem is because of the slow progress. This project has ruined the locality with debris and stunted work,” says an auto rickshaw driver, who doesn’t wish to be named.
“The Okalipuram pass connecting Malleswaram and the railway station is increasing traffic congestion. Mantri Mall, shops, offices further choke traffic,” says resident, MP Krishna.
Mayor Sampath Raj says, “I went for inspection and found regular flow of traffic. It is actually helping people to avoid waiting on blocked roads. As the first lane was finished, we wanted to open it, and it doesn’t have any connection with the elections. The other lanes will be opened soon.”