Citizens agonize as only 40% of the work is over
Work on the Suranjan Das Road underpass has been delayed due to heavy rain. One side of the underpass is to be ready within 40 days.
RNS Infrastructure Ltd was awarded the contract to build underpasses at Kundalahalli, Wind Tunnel Road and Suranjan Das Road as part of the central project. The Kundalahalli underpass was opened to users in July 2022.
Only 40 per cent of the construction is complete. Blocks have been laid for one half of the underpass.
On Suranjan Das Road lies the HAL main gate signal — a busy junction connecting NGEF, Marathahalli-Whitefield and Domlur.
People waiting for buses stand right behind the construction zone which appears to be dangerous for them. There is no bus stand. It takes at least 15 minutes to cross the HAL signal while traveling from Domlur to Marathahalli during peak hours.
Rajesh (name changed), a regular user of the road, informed The Observer: “We are looking forward to this underpass opening as early as possible. We wait in the signal for a long duration. There is no space to wait for the bus as the construction of the underpass has taken over most of the main gate junction road…. The road is too short now… traffic is too heavy.”
Referring to the crowd of vehicles, a resident who refused to be named said: “I get irritated while traveling through the HAL route in the evening.” Roads are damaged due to the work, leading to traffic jams.
G.B. Narasimhappa, an HAL employee, explained: “The underpass work has been going on for a very long time. We can’t completely blame the government for the delay. The soil in the area is not suitable for construction…. The Covid outbreak and heavy rain forced the work to come to a halt. It’s true that traffic is really bad. I hope the underpass will be ready soon.”
Dhananjaya Naik, a site engineer, said: “The construction should have been completed by now, but unexpected heavy rains hit our work. The soil here is sandy. We had to remove the soil. The cost of the construction increased and we had to stop the work in December 2020. After revised funds were released by the government, work resumed in April 2022. We had a high court stay for a few days on the chopping of 32 trees at the HAL junction. The utility space is very small, though we have occupied 70 per cent of the road.”
The Observer witnessed two-wheeler riders using footpaths to escape long traffic jams, posing a risk to pedestrians.
A traffic police officer said that the road is narrow due to the underpass construction, so vehicles cannot move freely. “Bikers use the footpath to escape long crowds mostly during peak traffic hours.” Traffic policemen fine those who ride on the footpath. As of now, there are no accidents, he added.
A BBMP official said the construction of the underpass on Wind Tunnel Road will start within a week. It is expected to get ready by March 2023.
There was a recent road sink in the newly opened Kundalahalli underpass due to a water pipe leakage. The problem was resolved within 12 hours.