Finally, JP Nagar underpass nears completion

Nearly two and a half years after work began, there may finally be light at the tunnel, or in this case, an underpass. Construction on the JP Nagar 15th cross Ring Road in south Bengaluru is scheduled to be completed by the third week of September.

Signs of completion have emerged as work entered the 30th month. Pic: Venkatesan Perumal.

Highly placed sources in the BBMP have confirmed this to Citizen Matters but refused to comment on when the underpass itself will be inaugurated thereafter.

The BBMP official says that work left to be completed includes painting, lighting, laying of pavement quality concrete, and work on the service roads. A worker at the construction site says that Rs 10 lakhs worth of work, of the Rs 23 crore project, is left to be completed.

Citizen Matters spoke to Jayanagar constituency MLA B N Vijaykumar who says the underpass will be ready in a month’s time. "This is what the contractor told. We cannot depend on them", Vijaykumar says, adding that an inauguration date cannot be fixed unless the work is completed.

Underpass at Ring Road-Puttenahalli junction

Date of commencement of work: March 2008

Scheduled to have been completed in 10 months

Project Cost: Rs.23 crores (JnNURM funds)

Name of agency: Engineering Projects (India) Ltd

Road width: 15 metres (4-lane)

Height: 5.5 metres

Delayed work inconveniences residents and traders

Started in March 2008, work on this underpass has stretched on for over two years now. Sources in the BBMP say that the project has been delayed because of the agency carrying out the work – Engineering Projects (India) Ltd. "They have not used funds properly, they have not worked on proper shifts", says the BBMP source, adding, "If they don’t finish the work, we will terminate the contract and get it done from a third party."

Interestingly, Transport Minister R Ashoka inaugurated the overbridge on 24th Main Road towards Puttenahalli and Jambusavari Dinne on May 2nd this year.  The 15th Cross underpass goes below this bridge, where it intersects 24th Main Road.

A project that was meant to be completed in ten months, will enter its 30th month in September this year. During this period, residents and businesses near the construction site have paid a steep price. Several commercial establishments were forced close shop because of the drop in footfalls.

In September 2009 Citizen Matters reported on this. At that time, BBMP’s Engineer-in-Chief A K Gopalaswamy had said people would have to be "patient". He had also said that the underpass would be ready in a "few months."

Suresh Rangaswamy, resident of JP Nagar. Pic: Vaishnavi Vittal.

Residents of the area have also had a hard time, with traffic being diverted to the once-quiet residential neighbourhoods. Suresh Rangaswamy, who lives on 14th cross 25th main in JP Nagar I Phase, says the project has resulted in a lot of chaos in the area, resulting in accidents as well.

Thirty-four year old Rangaswamy says the area has also seen a rise in the number of thefts in the area. "So many strangers are passing by. My wife’s bike was stolen. We found it after about three months", he explains.

The recent rains have also made life hell for pedestrians near the site, thanks to the slush-filled potholes.

Rangaswamy feels that projects like these are started without thinking of public safety and lack of coordination between authorities. "Any developmental work within the city inconveniences the citizens, when it stretches beyond a point."

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References

Addendum

Related Articles

Underpass chokes footfalls, shops close
Minister inaugurates incomplete JP Nagar underpass
“No land acquisition for J P Nagar underpass”: BBMP
Underpass work shows no progress

About Vaishnavi Vittal 139 Articles
Vaishnavi Vittal is a Bangalore-based journalist.

2 Comments

  1. This is another reason why we hate the thought of having more road work done; we know that the misery will prolong for long beyond the due date, with no accountability on the part of the contractors or BBMP, who have taken 30 months to even think about changing the contractor, for a scheduled time of 10 months. The public’s suffering is the last thing on these people’s minds and we are told to “be patient”. What are we paying taxes for, we wonder.

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