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. At last the bridge is open !!! BMTC/School buses/LMV are plying thru it, but they have not allowed Trucks thru it.

  2. I could see lot of new posters today.
    Some of them even replacing the new sign boards :-(. So they are going to close it soon for opening again I think

  3. Looks like we will need traffic spike system to regulate the traffic very soon.

    These spikes prevent access in one direction while allowing access in the opposite direction.

    Otherwise it is going to be a big mess at the enterance of the bridge.

    Vehicles especially bikes and autos are entering the bridge from the wrong direction

  4. CM (Citizen Matters, not BS-Why) deserves great deal of credit for pushing this issue upfront. This is the only way our democracy can work with media and citizen passion for civic issues.

  5. Crossed the bridge by car today morning. The tractor kept as a barricade was still there, but the orientation had been changed by some good Samaritan to make way for 4 wheelers 🙂

    So long Channasandra road!

    Kudos to citizen matters for having tracked this matter relentlessly.

  6. Missed to mention, me and my friend crossed the bridge by Car.

    So now, informally it is open for everyone. Happy Driving

  7. I crossed the bridge in the morning 10 am without any issues, however, one of my friend crossed it by 12 noon by removing the barricades.So finally it is open keep crossing it whether the barricades are there or not doesn’t matter.
    Thank a tone Subramaniam Vincent for all the effort in communication to us on latest update

  8. Hurray, finally we got it. Thanks to everyone who put up the fight with the officials.

  9. As expected four-wheelers have followed two-wheelers over the bridge this morning.
    This morning’s headline on the Chaithanya Samarpan mailing list is: “Hurray We just drove over the bridge”.
    One couple crossed over and then others. Another resident told me several officegoers from Golden Blossom crossed over. Most people have done S-curves around the barricades.

  10. From today morning, car’s were passing.
    I also used it.

    I see the barricades are being removed by people themselves.
    In case it is closed, we should just get down and remove the barricades.

    After 4 – 5 times they will get tired and stop putting them.

  11. It’s possible that BS-Y will use this to get back at UPA (Muniyappa)and delay the whole thing. Maybe we should ask the Reddy brothers to ride over it.

  12. I wish the three people involved (the Commissioner, CE Railways and ACP Sood can get on a conference call and decide on opening the bridge immediately. Get a secretary also on the line to take notes for the record.
    An even more interesting idea- how about email? Sood is fantastic with emails. He responded to one I sent as an aggrieved citizen within the hour and then another person followed up that evening!

  13. Its interesting to see, more than one official entity not keen on “inauguration”! We should just ask local corporate to do the “act”. More teeth to the local governance!!

  14. I see two notes on the Chaithanya Samarpan layout’s mailing list posted this afternoon, to the effect the bridge will be open to all traffic on Friday. So much for high officials saying one thing to mediafolks and local people at the ROB saying something else to citizens. 🙂

    It is very very likely now that people will start attempting to ride over the ROB anyhow through Thursday (15th) and Friday (16th) till we have a ‘defacto’ open situation!

  15. I just spoke to Mr. Anjaneya Reddy and he said that he has been trying to reach Mr.Shukla (CE of Railways) without success. Apparently, the Railways has to formally hand-over the bridge to BBMP. The latter will then initiate action to allow traffic. The inauguration does not seem to be the blocking thing now, but rather the Railways handing the bridge over to BBMP.

  16. I happen to visit the bridge about half an hour ago as mentioned by Raghuraman Mariappan they are allowing bikes to pass through but not cars. I spoke to a person (he does not want to reveal his name and said he is a supervisor from the contractor’s side)who said the opening is confirmed for this Sunday (In his own words “pakka opening ho jayaga”). Apparently the CM is back today and have given the dates for ‘inauguration’ this sunday. I am keeping all my fingers crossed!!!

  17. Latest (formal update) : I spoke Bangalore Traffic Police Commissioner Praveen Sood. Sood is a straight talker and is not known to mince words. He says he visited the ROB two days back and the moment he gets a note/signal from BBMP Commisioner Siddiah that the bridge is ready (safe) he will allow traffic. He does not have any ‘inauguration’-blocks in his mind, as far as I could tell.

    I called the Railways Chief Engineer after that. He says the bridge is ready, and the Railways says it is ‘safe’, no further load tests or any other tests are needed. On my request, the Railways CE is sending a letter to BBMP Commissioner today (to ensure no communication gaps happen between the three ends of the triangle).

    No one seems to be talking eagerly about any ‘inauguration’ right now. Railways say they will look the other way if people ride over the bridge – they understand the pain. Traffic Police needs a go ahead from the BBMP. My staff is talking the Commissioner Siddiah on some other matter and we will check this.

    The Kadugodi BBMP corporator’s Anjaneya Reddy (98450 08072, 080 28452102) is coming engaged. One of you please call him and ask him to talk to the BBMP Commissioner.

  18. I just crossed the bridge in my bike. Asharam side of the bridge is open but there is a barricade in the hope farm side. But the bikes can pass through.

  19. BTW, soon after opening this, I read (this weeks TOI) that work will start on the Hopefarm circle underpass later this year, stretching our pain 🙁

  20. I think BSY is in town (saw him on TV in the Assembly yesterday), with the opposition leaders deciding to sleep-over in the assembly!

  21. I think we should barge in on Saturday morning.
    Also, we can plan a small inauguration ceremony. But we need at least 100-200 people and some reporters.

Comments are closed.