Whitefield Bridge begins three month-countdown

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The latest realistically estimated date for the opening of the Whitefield railway overbridge is June 1st 2010.

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On February 19th, a new contractor, Banashankari-based KPR Constructions took over the unfinished project. KPR Constructions, which takes on Railways contracts along with sister concern Balaji Builders, is headed by N Kumar, Managing Partner.

whitefield-steel-girder

A steel girder segment at the Kadugodi yard next the Whitefield Railway Station
has been painted as part of readying for launch. Pic: Subramaniam Vincent.

Speaking to Citizen Matters from Hubli on the telephone, Vijay Kumar, Chief Administrative Officer, South Western Railway, said the bridge will be ready "in April". Another top official at the South Western Railway, Bangalore, aggressively set the launch date as April 15th. This official requested that he not be named.

As earlier reporting has shown, estimates for the completion of this project have proved wrong each time. Kumar of KPR was more realistic than the Railways officials in his assessment. He first estimated May 2nd week, and moved that cautiously to June 1st in a second conversation. 

The good news is that the scene at the Kadugodi yard next to the Whitefield Railway Station comes as a pleasant surprise to anyone even remotely familiar with the crisis that brought work to dead halt last year. The 42 metre steel girder is being assembled here. From a silent, almost dead yard with the massive steel girder segments lying around, the place now has a loud, clanking buzz with workers moving around and KPR engineers and as well junior Railways engineers walking around.

Such is the delight the restarting of work has created in commuters, that a Citizen Matters reader Sudipto Bose wrote this on February 22nd after visiting the yard: "Yes, they are working on the girders that have been made by Soham. I see that the work area has been cleaned, the girders now have some serial numbers. They have removed the covering in front and have a temporary genset for the welding power supply".

Bose did not stop there. "I think we should still do some movement with children – like carry lunch/flowers and hand them over to the workers from KPR. Make them conscious of the responsibility. Sounds crazy?" he signed off.

whitefield-bridge-welding

This sort of action was missing for several months at the yard, and many
commuters who take a brunt of the traffic gridlock every day are now hoping
to see the bridge launch soon. Pic: Subramaniam Vincent

Some of the reddish girder segments, built long ago by the previous contractor before that firm ran into a financial crisis, are now being sandblasted and painted in grey colour at the yard.

Kumar confirms that when KPR took over, welding issues (at the over 150 joints on the girder) remained and claims that his firm is fixing them. A team from the Welding Research Institute (WRI) in Trichy has already visited and is expected to give their report this week, he says, confident of getting their approvals.

Citizen Matters could not independently confirm the status with WRI at the time this report went live. Kumar says he is targeting the girder installation across the 6-track 42-metre span for the end of March and completion of the two ramps (roads leading up the girder) in April. "We are under pressure to finish on time, and are spending money on our own", he says. He also confirms that Aravind Limbavali (BJP MLA, Mahadevapura) and Minister of State in the Central Government for Railways K H Muniyappa have been pressing for this project to be finished.

In December 2009, SW Railway had terminated the earlier contract with Soham Engineering Constructions, the Hyderabad-based firm that had been struggling to complete the bridge. A new tender was floated the same month for Rs 2.8 crores, which the Railways awarded to KPR last month. The contract has been tendered in a mode where the Railways are going to pay only after project is finished, so KPR is now shelling out funds to finish the project.

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25 Comments

  1. “AAshada Maasa” has set in; CM may have to visit 10 more temples before deciding on a bridge! Our CM won’t do any work for the next month. Why not have the “bridge warriors” here,led by Mr. Vincent open the bridge? Why wait for this BSY who did nothing to speed up the work?

  2. I hear the CM is not in town & dont think he will be back by 15th. He is on some conference. So if they are waiting for the CM to open the bridge, then there will be delays.

  3. One of my staff journalists called the Railways this morning. It looks like July 15th (having confirmed it to us earlier) has now become ‘iffy’. The same official now says they are waiting for a ‘confirmed time’ from the CM’s office.

    KPR’s Kumar says there are some minor works (like paint touch ups) pending that are getting finished now. They won’t be able to do this if traffic starts running over the ROB.

    In effect traffic can start using the bridge by weekend, it seems by all indications. If it is not inaugurated by this weekend, it won’t be a contractor issue any more.

    Citizens will simply have to pressure the Railways to open it up informally.

  4. hello All,

    Thanks a lot to all the people who helped in tracking, following up and bringing regular updates to us. I have an appartment on the other side of the bridge near ten downing and the opening of this bridge means so much to me and many more people like me. Thanks.

  5. Great show by all the citizens in making the govt sit up and look and complete the task. good show. i request if anyone could put a snap of the completed bridge

  6. Seems celebration time is not far away and I wish to thank Vincent(specially) for the efforts put thus far in providing us an update over this fight literally with the authorities as well as being at the frontline many a times to understand status of this important project.

    Thanks a tonne Vincent and 3 Cheers in advance to Whitefield (Kadugodi) residents !!

    🙂

  7. More good news. They are erecting the poles now, and also concreting the left out areas. The road is completely done.

    The bridge is almost complete.
    I think we should not give time beyond July 15th. It will be ridiculous to wait for a VIP to inaugurate a project that has failed so badly in terms of deadline.

    So we should barge in.

  8. Latest update from the Railways. The Chief Minister and Minister of State for Railways/New Delhi have agreed to July 15th Thursday to open the bridge. Exact timing is not fixed yet.

  9. Better than ever before news. I think instead of waiting for BSY or KHM or “Adarneeya Didi” they should just dress up a local guy as BSY and have the dang bridge open up. Enough of this VIP business. Or are they buying time because work is still pending?

  10. Great news Subbu. Once this is complete, I think people should just follow the Gurgaon expressway / Wheeler bridge route. Move any barricades and start driving on this bridge.

    Alternatively, we should tie a ribbon and have somebody dressed as RK Lakshman’s common man cut it.

  11. Updates on the status:

    The good news. Both the Railways Chief Engineer overseeing the project and KPR’s N Kumar (contractor) are concurring that completion is set for next week.

    The dicey news: The chief engineer says he has written to the Chief Minister Yeddyurappa asking for three possible inauguration dates. He expects a reply “soon”. Based on his he will get the Minister of State of Railways at the Centre to give his preferred date and then the Railways will set the inauguration for that day.

    My response: I told him people are very tired of driving across the Channasandra and Hoodi routes and at this stage adding a wait-time for VIP availability will not sit well with the residents. He said he was sure they would get dates and open the bridge formally this month.

    To my question on whether informally traffic can pass through while waiting for the inauguration, he declined first and then said “perhaps in the night”.

    Added development: Railways says they are “not getting cooperation from BESCOM” to get electrical poles on either side of the overbridge to be installed so they are planning to do it themselves. Contractor Kumar says that the tender did not include electrical poles and lighting, so they will handover the bridge in finished mode without this. (15 poles on either side.)

    Next week, fingers crossed.

  12. I visited the bridge on Sunday and found out that the ‘tar-like’ layer being added to the concrete over the steel span is water proofing. This will complete this week, the workers there said. (S B Enterprises is the firm that has undertaken this part of the project from KPR/Balaji)

  13. Thanks Manish, I will take one tomorrow and Email you.

    It can also be mentioned that a Sky-walk with provision of ramp for trolley bags is required for ease of commuters.

    I met a railway person who says the bridge is designed for heavy vehicles.

    True, crawling trucks will cause bottle neck but we can think of alternatives after completion 🙂 .

    However in the mean time we can call for,
    1)Short halt for Trains at Whitefield Station
    2)Fleecing Auto rickshaw
    3)Bi-cycle parking facility at Kadugodi Bus station

  14. I have visited the site today. The road work has started. Looks another month or so for completion.
    15 Aug can be seen as a very decent date.

  15. I understand everything can go. No restrictions. I guess it is 2 lane. Of-course, 4-lane is better.

  16. Aditya,
    Can you or someone please share the latest photographs and then we can try to again start the Media Campaign like last time.
    One thing we need to highlight is that even after delay of 4 years we are getting a bridge which is singel lane and will be a bottleneck in near future.
    Will they allow school buses to go over the bridge? Else it will be very painful for smaill kids.
    How will they stop Trucks and other heavy vehicle movement? Will there be someone monitoring the vehicle movement?

    Cheers
    Manish

  17. it is still early to celebrate.
    Although the the structure looks near complete, but other small small things will take time.

    @Narayanan – I was happier to see the slightly older photo in TheHindu.

    I am just hoping for another writeup in TOI !

    Manish, can you please do the magic once more.

  18. Walked up the bridge today morning.

    The ramps are done. Only thing left is the asphalting.

    The concrete laying work has been done on the actual bridge/girder. I could actually walk and cross if I chose to 🙂 but then there were workers present. Wish I had my camera.
    They are doing the sidewalls of the girder now.

    The only thing left is the curing and the tarring.

    Let us keep fingers crossed for sometime in July.

  19. I guess the Hindu article is a little “out of time”. Even the photo is old. Today morning, I see that the reinforcements are in place and they should concrete the area in another 2-3 days.

    Considering 15 days of curing, July end seems realistic to me. Provided they don’t stop work. And, As someone said if they start the road work as soon as concreting is over then things should be on track.

  20. Guys, the article on June 12 was published due to the efforts of residents from Surakshaa Fairview who sent many mail to The Hindu.

    Around 8 months back there was another article following which a Tender was published.

    There is direct connection, being optimistic will not resolve anything, Unless matter is not continuously highlighted in media, we cannot hope for the bridge.

  21. Venkatesh, Many thanks to you for the relentless follow up with the authorities.

    Hope is what we all are alive for.

    Thanks again for your updates…

Comments are closed.