BENGALURU: The pathetic condition of Sumanahalli flyover, chunks of which collapsed on Friday, has only exposed the callous attitude of the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). Believe it or not, flyovers and underpasses in the city have not been maintained for the last 10 years.
Officials of the two civic bodies admit that the flyovers and underpasses in the city have not been given any look for safety or structural stability in all these years. “No attention has been paid because many projects were under the defect liability period where the contractor has ensure that they are well maintained. But no government department verified if any check was done by them. After the project was handed over to the departments concerned, the engineers did not pay attention,” revealed a BBMP engineer who did not want to be named.
The Sumanahalli flyover is just one example. There are many which have depressions, damages, cracks and other structural faults which are being ignored. Citing some examples, a senior BBMP official said that the flyovers all along the Outer Ring Road, have the same problem. Same is the case with the flyovers between Hebbal and Tumkur Road and road over-bridges across the city.
“This only goes to show that commuters are riding on dangerous stretches. The Mysuru Road flyover, where the expansion joints were a problem, was the first sign which was ignored. The Hebbal flyover was another sign, where there were cracks and vibrations. On one loop of Mysuru Road flyover towards Goodshed Road, one can see plants growing on the walls,” the official said.
“Every flyover gives signs of damage, which the engineers ignore and eventually the flyovers start to give way,” the official added.
Soon after the Hebbal flyover developed cracks, BDA, BBMP, BWSSB and urban development department had held meetings and had decided to form a committee to inspect all the flyovers in the city and ensure annual maintenance is done in wake of the increasing vehicular load. But nothing has been done.
Reacting to this, BBMP Commissioner B H Anil Kumar told The New Sunday Express that regular maintenance must be taken up henceforth in view of the excessive vehicular movement. A protocol needs to be followed to ensure that there is proper maintenance of flyovers and underpasses, he stressed.
He said that the protocol will include desilting and opening of drains once in six months, proper maintenance of medians, walls, railings and barriers. The underpasses and flyovers should also be checked.
A S Kodandapani of the Indian Institute of Engineers said regular maintenance of flyovers is a must. He wondered how the government agencies can take up the challenge of constructing more infrastructure in the city when they cannot maintain the existing ones. The government should hire well-equipped and professional companies for maintenance works and not some fly- by-night firms, he added.