Whitefield railway bridge receives safety clearance

Our work is to empower citizens, made possible by your donation. Click to Donate

After battling a delay of almost two years, much to the chagrin of hassled commuters, work on the 42-metre-long railway over bridge (ROB) at the Kadugodi railway level crossing in Whitefield is nearing completion. The office of Commissioner of Railway safety in Bangalore, headed by K J S Naidu, says the (pending and necessary) approvals were accorded to the South Western Railways on June 8th.

Advertisement

"The ball is now in the court of the railway authorities to oversee the timely execution and commissioning of the railway overbridge," said an official at the railway safety department, who did not want to be named since he was not authorised to speak to the press in the absence of Naidu. The erstwhile deadline of Mar 2009 was breached long back. Commuters may see light at the end of the tunnel soon, according to Soham Engineering Constructions, the contractor, a Hyderabad-based firm, led by Managing Partner Narayanan.

Whitefield railway crossing

The central span runs north-south and will cross six railway tracks. On the left is the Whitefield side. On the right is the Hosakote side of the ramp. File pic: Subramaniam Vincent.

The project should be completed in about two and a half months, says a top engineer at Soham, who is onsite. "We are under tremendous pressure to complete it at the earliest. There is vigorous inspection happening from the railway authorities everyday", he added.

A top official at South Western Railway who is intimately familiar with the details and delays of this project, was even more specific. He said Aug 15th was the target date to open the bridge to the public. The official requested anonymity since he is not authorised to speak to the press.

What caused the extended delay, again?

"The welding process for the steel girder is an extremely cumbersome process. It is very important that we adhere to the quality process. Quality has to be thoroughly confirmed to. Taking care to ensure the quality checks has cost us this additional time," says the engineer from Soham.

"One 10 meter piece of the girder has about 16 joints. Each butt wielding has to be ultrasonically tested. The submerged arc building has to be wielded when the temperature is around 28 degree Celsius. When there is a deluge or a downpour, the work will have to be suspended. Work on these joints have to be carried out very meticulously, and has to go through timely approvals by the railway engineers and supervisors. Citizens are under hassle no doubt but they should understand that following quality controls is extremely important to ensure safety. The bridge has to withstand the test of atleast a 100 years time" says the Soham engineer passionately.

He adds that another twenty days critical work is remaining on the girder. "At the moment the central span fabrication work on the 42-metre steel girder is (still) underway and almost over", says the Soham engineer. After this, the stiffener building will commence, and following that an anti corrosion coating will be done. The girder will then be ready for installation. 150 tonnes of steel has been used to carve out the girder, according to the Soham engineer.

Safety is paramount, clearance finally given

In the meantime, as noted at the beginning, the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) in Bangalore has only this week given its sanction for the project. The Commissioner of Railway Safety is a statutory body that issues clearances on rail safety. The CRS for South India is head-quartered in Bengaluru.

Only recently, when questioned on the delay in the sanction which had not been received until last week, a top Railways official speaking to Citizen Matters had said, "We have tabled our papers and had several rounds of discussion. We have gone back and forth with suggestions and amendments, the procedure is almost complete now."

The sanction is a certificate of assurance that will attest the quality and safety norms used in building of the girder. With the sanction now through, the steel girder when completed can be launched into the 42-metre span. Sources from the Railways confirm there is about two weeks work left on the steel girder.

railway grid

The first segment of the steel girder being assembled at a railway yard near the level crossing.File pic: Subramaniam Vincent.

Before the girder is installed, the 25000-volt electrical lines over the tracks will have to be lowered by 90 cms to install the steel girder. "The hi-voltage electrical lines will be suspended during the night and gradually lowered over a spread of few days. Work will have to be done only during the night to minimise disruption of trains schedules", says the Railways official.

The contractor, Soham, originally had to suffer additional expenditure on account of the exorbitant steel and cement price spirals over a year ago. The price formula used in the original contract with the railway authorities does not factor-in steep escalations in input costs. "The additional cost expenditure on the project on account of the steel and cement prices will be dealt with the railway authorities after the project completion. Whatever the commercial aspects are, they better be kept away from mechanical aspects of the projects. We don’t want to compromise on quality. Our aim at the moment is completion of task at hand", says the Soham engineer.

Whatever be the reasons for the delay, the citizens now are in the mood for results. The extra wait for a hassle free commute in this long drawn Northeast Bengaluru-bottleneck better be worth the pain undergone all these years.

RELATED
RELATED

Related Articles

Whitefield hi-voltage bridge in steely suspension


25 Comments

  1. I wish atleast by new year the flyover opens. I will be a major relief for people who live in the the other part.

  2. Divya Kumar is currently in touch with the railways officials for an update on Citizen Matters to come shortly. We’re trying to wrap this up in the next two-three days.

    I have also asked Divya to talk to some of the people who have posted comments under this article on a specific question. Please do not be surprised if some of you get an email.

    -Subbu Vincent, Editor

  3. Has anyone talked with Mr Balakrishnan recently regarding the project? I tried to call him on his mobile. He didn’t pick up the phone(may be he was busy). I’ll try gain later.

  4. I don’t think govt projects run on charity. 20lakhs is not the reason why this project is not completing. we as citizens and tax payers can either wait and watch or go and protest.

  5. Is there anyone on behalf of SOHAM with whom we can discuss. we can always pool in 20 lakh. But whats the guarantee that it’ll be done. 20 lakh is not that big amount for soham who is building the bridge for crores of Rupees. And it is more surprizing that SOHAM is not able to arrange 20 lakh. I guess think there is something else that going in the background.

  6. Friends,
    I am sure there are more than 1000 people who are affected by this bridge.
    If Rs.20 Lakhs is what is slowing the project, would it be a possible for the affected group to pool up money and give it to Soham. I know that it is giving undue benefit to Soham but how much longer can we wait like this especially when our property interest are getting affected.

  7. well it should not have come as a surprise to anyne. Gocts are not known for delivering projects on time, unless ofcourse they have some interest.

  8. it is very strange to know that contract is awarded without checking financial stability of contractor. If he is not able to arrange finances then what govt is doing ? why infrastructure projects are awarded without timebound performance contract and alternate plan in place for penalising non performers? Finally it is tax payer money getting wasted by not delivering projects on time.

  9. @Manish “3 months”. But I heard its only 1 month job to put the girders. Are they planning to start the work this month?

  10. Talked to Mr Balakrishnan who is in-charge of this project. As per him Soham has to arrange finances which Soham is unable to do since his major payments are stuck in Andhra. Already Girders are ready and Soham will start work as some of their payment has been released. Mr Balakrishnan is telling that this will be completed in next 3 months 🙂

  11. I enquired with one of the security person at the place where they have kept the steel girders (near the kadugodi police station). He said the girders are ready to be fitted but Soham is not able to pay (about 20lakhs) for the cranes etc that will be needed to fit the girders. The ceo of Soham was apparently in bangalore to discuss the matter with Railway minister last week. He also mentioned that it would only take about a week to complete the fitting of the girders and during that time all trains would run on diesel engine..he was pretty confident that work would start within a month. However this info is from a security person, so we have to take it with a handful of salt i guess!

  12. I don’t see any work starting in the central portion. I don’t see any sign of that work starting also. They have almost stopped it. I see only 2-3 people working. No hopes for atleast 6 more months.

  13. The office of the South Western Railways on the present status of the Whitefield ROB:
    Welding of steel girders for the main span over railway track is completed. The final testing and certification of the girder is in progress. The certification is expected to come through by Aug end. The welded girder is proposed to be installed in September this year. The casting of road deck on the girder is programmed for October. Road approach ramp is nearing completion except the top bituminous layer of road surface, which is planned to be taken up after the monsoon, during October. The road over bridge is likely to be commissioned for traffic during first week of Nov.

  14. I found the numbers, please contact:

    Mr. Bala Krishnan
    Chief Engineer(Kadugodi Project)
    Off: 080-23535940
    Cell:97316-65252

    Mr. Vijaya Kumaran
    Chief Administrative Officer (Construction)
    Off: 080-2333-1816

  15. Railway authorities, not authorised to spead to media had this to say about the latest state of the project
    ” We are on the verge of seeking a deadline. Public can guage progress through the visible work at the site. Most of the uncertainities are out of our way. The girder is presently getting inspected. Radiation, ultrasonic tests on the girder is in progress. We hope to have the girder installed by this month end. Which means we are targetting a completion sometime during September”

    The DRM of south western railway is Akhil Agarwal and his contact number, which is available over the net, is 080-22871498. Akhil Agarwal has the official status to speak to public.

  16. Hi,
    can u pls share in this page the number of authorities so that readers can call them and check the status.

    Regards

    Rajul

  17. Hi Divya,

    I live on this side of the tracks, the affected side. Should we meet the officials regularly? There are three communities, Redstone, Chaitanya and 10 Downing. The advantages I see are:
    – We get regular updates
    – We can do regular followup with officials
    – Maybe, we can create some pressure to complete it timely.

    If possible, you can call me at 080-39842051 or please email me at pkms@hotmail.com and let us syncup.

    Thanks,

    Pradeep

  18. I spoke to the south western railway authorities on the current status and the tentative time of completion of the Whitefield railway overbridge.

    “Work on girder is almost over. We are waiting for authorities from BHEL, wielding dept, to come and certify and inspect it. Work on girder took longer than expected to finish because wielding cannot be carried out when temperature dips. We have had a real bad monsoon patch which has caused the delay. Once the inspection is over the girder will have to be installed. We are looking to start the installation procedure in August” says a top official from the railway department.

    What is the deadline now?

    “We had earlier set the deadline at Aug 15th. This maybe extended by another 4-5 weeks now” maintains the railway official.

  19. 15 Aug seems to be too good to be true. There is work going on both sides but the central girder is no where to be seen. Would be grateful for any latest updates on this ROB.

Comments are closed.