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Kumbalgodu overbridge in critical state

Has holes due to rusting, trembles when people walk on it

Athul M

The overbridge at Kumbalgodu

Visible from half a kilometer away, the foot overbridge at Kumbalgodu on the Bengaluru-Mysuru road seems a symbol of reassurance to people who want to cross the road without risking life and limb. It is a prominent landmark for people travelling to or from Bengaluru. One look at it from a distance gives one a sense that it is properly located — at an intersection on a busy inter-city road.
But not all is well. A closer look reveals that the steel structure, built in 2004-05, is in a state of disrepair.
Rusting has left holes in the floor and on the steps. The gaps are visible from the road below. Every time somebody steps on the breaches, small pieces of rusted iron fall on vehicles passing below. The overbridge, used mostly by schoolchildren, sways when people walk on it.
Despite its poor condition, pedestrians use the bridge because it is dangerous to cross the road at the intersection, which lacks a traffic signal.
The overbridge, on National Highway 275, is 80 feet long and 11 feet wide.
“The bridge is extensively used by young and old people,” said Teja Ram, owner of the Mataji Stationery Store that is close to the bridge. Nothing has been done to make it safe. “The holes pose a serious threat to users,” he added.
According to Kumbalgodu Gram Panchayat  tax inspectors Manju and Sateesh, the bridge, on National Highway 275, is in a “critical condition”.
“The foot overbridge was under the state government’s jurisdiction until 2016. It was then handed over to the National Highways Authority of India,” Manju said. “No maintenance work has been done on the bridge,” Sateesh added.
Nagesh, an elderly resident of Kumbalgodu who uses the bridge every day, said: “I tremble while walking on the bridge, but have no option, especially in the morning.” His prime concern is schoolchildren who run on the bridge, causing it to shake dangerously.
According to Malik, who works at Chaitanya Enterprise, a mobile recharge store near the bridge, “a lot of people use it especially in the evening when the market opens.” During rush hours, more women than men use it.
Says Santosh of an Iyengar bakery in the vicinity: “Drunkards pass out on the bridge after dark.”
athul.m@iijnm.org