Of three road over bridges (RoBs) and an equal number of road under bridges (RuBs) planned in Dakshina Kannada, only one road-over bridge at Yekkur is under construction. Constructing two RoBs across the railway lines at Baikampady and B.C. Road and a road-under-bridge at Padil on the National Highway 66 under the Port Connectivity Project of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has been pending for long.
Optimism was high about the bridges as three bidders had responded to the bid invited by the NHAI early this year for their construction for the second time. Sources in the NHAI told The Hindu that the NHAI, shortly, was likely to select the bidder who had quoted the lowest amount.
The NHAI invited the first bid for their construction in 2010 although the project commenced in June 2005. As the bidders quoted high rates, the NHAI rejected them. At the same time, the NHAI modified the design of the road-over bridge at Baikampady and invited the bid for the second time, sources said.
Why did the NHAI take five years to invite the bids?
Sources said that IRCON International Ltd., a Railways’ undertaking which had been assigned with the highway widening work between B.C. Road and Surathkal, had agreed in principle to build the road-over-bridges and a road-under-bridge. But it was not binding on its part because it was not a part of the specific contract agreement. However, NHAI was hoping that the railways’ undertaking would agree to take up this work too as its authorities were positive about such a possibility. Since IRCON International Ltd. was a railways' undertaking, NHAI was of the view that the former would be in a better position to convince the railways and sort out issues that might come up while taking up the work. But after the company authorities indicated that they were not interested in taking up the three works, the NHAI invited bids. The sources said that the two RoBs and a RuB would be built parallel to the existing ones.
According to the modified design of the RoB at Baikampady there would be a vehicular underpass (twin-cell underpass) and a provision to lay another track for the future in addition to the existing track.
At B.C. Road road-over-bridge, there would be a provision to lay two more tracks in addition to the existing three tracks.
The road-under-bridge at Padil would be built using the box pushing technology where a pre-cast box would be pushed under the existing railway track.
Sources said the railways had approved only the general arrangement drawing (GAD) of the three works and its structure design and drawing were yet to be approved. The former one shows how and where the structures would come up and the latter shows specifically how they would be built.
The sources said that the NHAI was building a RoB at Yekkur under Kundapur-Talapady highway widening project. Of 30 piles of the RoB 15 had been completed. In addition to the existing track there would be a provision for laying a new track.
Premananda Shetty, whip in the council of Mangalore City Corporation council, said the council had approved constructing a road-under-bridge on Padil-Bajal Road and another one at Jeppu Kudpady.
The corporation Commissioner Harish Kumar K. said that as per the current estimate, the road-under-bridge at Jeppu Kudpady would cost Rs. 3.64 crore which would be fully funded by the corporation.
The road-under-bridge on Padil-Bajal Road would cost Rs. 5.16 crore.
The civic body and the Southern Railway would equally share the cost of the project. The corporation was yet to deposit its share with the railways for both the projects, he said.
Mr. Kumar said the railways had made it clear that they would approve the projects only after the civic body deposited funds with it.