Will it be third time lucky for Tender SURE roads?

After failing twice to attract bidders, BBMP plans third tender

Will it be third time lucky for Tender SURE roads?

Unable to attract a single bidder for its two tenders to upgrade 17 city roads under the Tender SURE (Specifications for Urban Road Execution) scheme, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is floating a third tender next week.

Yet there is no certainty that someone would respond and transform the streets to global standards as planned, shape them to match the look and feel of today’s Vittal Mallya Road.

Three years ago, when the VM Road was refashioned in style, Bangaloreans had lauded its neatly structured lanes, its landscaped pedestrian-friendly footpaths, its underground multi-utility ducts and the designer signages and streetlights. Multiple government agencies, including the BBMP, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (Bescom) had worked in tandem with builders to totally change the once potholed stretch.

Unprecedented in planning, design and functionality, the road project — conceptualised by the Bangalore City Connect Foundation (BCCF) — showed the way forward.

But, as the Palike and the other stakeholders realised, not many are keen to implement the projects. The lone company that showed some interest in the first tender failed to meet the stringent quality needs of the technical evaluation process, a top BBMP official told Deccan Herald. Nobody, it appears, wants to get into a system that seeks to do away with the current practice of commissioning roads without any planning or consultation with power, water, telecom and sewage utilities.

The proposed permanent utilitiy ducts on either side of the road, for instance, would have negated the need for frequent road-cutting.

Lined up for upgrade were many roads in the Central Business District, including Residency Road, Richmond Road, Commissariate Road, Museum Road, St Mark’s Road and Vittal Mallya Hospital Road. Yet there were no takers, although the contract size is big enough and the potential to generate revenue later is high.

Poor road

The upgrades would be a clear step away from the current roads, which are poorly planned, are not standardised, lack basic elements to ensure safety and convenience. Most roads in the City have varying widths and are characterised by poor road and junction geometry (No uniformity in width of different lanes and footpaths, before and after junctions, etc).

The BCCF had worked on the Tender SURE project from late 2010, preparing Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for the roads with technical assistance from the Indian Uran Space Foundation.

The State government provisioned about Rs 300 crore for the project, which was initially planned for 45 roads. The cost was to be shared by the government, the BBMP and the BMRCL and earmarked in their budgets in February 2012. But once the details were worked out, it was realised that further budget provisions had to be made for the new utilities (particularly water and waste lines). Eventually, the project was scaled down to cover 17 roads.

Prerequisites

*Identification of road (by a competent authority like BBMP)
* Reconnaissance survey
* Road Inventory survey
* Preparation of existing cross sections
* Field investigations and design
* Agency Inventory Input (Agency- BWSSB, BMTC, BTP, BMRCL, Telecom, etc)
* Proposed Tender SURE design and estimates
*Agency sign off (Agency- BWSSB, BMTC, BTP, BMRCL, Telecom, etc)
* Preparation of tender documents and tendering
*Execution and monitoring (competent authority, resident monitors, third party)

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