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CNR Rao underpass: No end in sight

Nivedita Jain 0:37 IST
The deadlines displayed on a BBMP board at the site of the ongoing but much-delayed CNR Rao Circle Underpass near Indian Institute of Science (IISc) couldn’t be more telling: “Date of commencement of the project – January 2010, Date of completion of the project – September 2011.’’ A reality check showed that even after three and half years, the work, being executed as part of a JnNURM scheme, is nowhere near total completion.

Trapped amid myriad problems due to poor design, location and cost-overruns, the project has caught the attention of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah too. Recently, he had inspected the place and rapped the BBMP officials for their inability to meet the deadline.

The Chief Minister has now set a new deadline and firmly told the Palike to get the underpass operational by December 2013.

But residents of nearby areas and frequent commuters on the road had heard about many such deadlines, none of which were met. The project, which had an initial cost estimate of 22.60 crore and now hovers around Rs 30 crore, was designed to reduce the traffic chaos and ensure smooth flow of vehicles going towards Maramma Circle (Malleswaram), Yeshwantpur and Mekhri Circle.

As things stand, only one side of the underpass near Indian Institute of Science (IISc), connecting Maramma Circle and Yeshwantpur has been opened. The BBMP and the traffic police are monitoring the oncoming traffic from Mekhri Circle through the underpass that has been opened. Commuters say they have been using it for six months now, but want the other side linking Mekhri Circle and Yeshwantpur to be ready at the earliest.

B V Kamala, who works at the Science Institute Postal Office, located right opposite the ongoing underpass spot, elaborates on the problem: “Malleswaram 18th Cross motorists who want to come to our post office have to pass through Nirmala Rani School Road, Yeshwantpur Circle and other neighbouring areas as the road has been made one-way.

Earlier it was not much time-consuming to reach our office as the lane was two-way and there ware no traffic diversions.”

BBMP Superintendent Engineer (Major Roads), K T Nagaraj says the underpass work, being jointly executed by East Coast Constructions & Industries (ECCI) and Madhava Hytech is one of a kind. “It is a unique Y-shaped underpass and about 60 per cent is completed. Two Service Roads at IISc campus are still yet to be constructed. There were obstructions in the form of shifting utilities, land acquisition, contractor's problem among others. We are completing the work at the earliest.”

While commuters are agitated over the slow pace of work, even traffic policemen manning the area are not impressed. A constable, Satish Kumar has his hands full monitoring the heavy traffic flow near Maramma Temple Junction, near 18th Cross, Malleswaram. Says he, “The road is full of potholes now and looks messy. On weekdays in morning and evening peak hours specially, the traffic flow is dense. There are no proper footpath along the underpass stretch making it difficult for public to walk.” The pedestrians couldn’t agree more.

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