The long wait has only got longer. Commuters who use the Kadugodi-Whitefield railway junction were hanging by the thread of hope that the bridge connecting Whitefield and Hoskote would obviate arduous detours and long waits at the railway crossing. The bridge was to have been completed by the first quarter of 2009 but there are little signs of any progress.
Work came to a standstill three months ago as the Hyderabad-based Soham Engineering Constructions, the contractor entrusted with the construction work by the Railways and the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), pulled out citing funds shortage.
A new contractor, KPR Constructions, which took over, also was unable to meet the fresh deadline of May 31, 2010.
Work seems to be progressing at a snail's pace. When The Hindu visited the site, there were just a handful of workers. To add to the confusion, the contractor and the Railways are speaking in different voices regarding the “new” deadline.
Giving the reason for the delay, S. Vijay Kumaran, Chief Administrative Officer-Construction, South Western Railway, said: “This bridge requires high-quality steel and the fabrication is complicated. But it will be ready in a month.”
On the other hand, Abhilash Chandran, Project Engineer from KPR, suggested it will be ready only in four months' time.
Risk to life
The project, aimed at bridging the 52-km distance between Whitefield and the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA), has become an obstacle instead. The over-stretched period of construction has forced uneasy changes in the surrounding areas.
For instance, buses have to take a dangerous U-turn to reach the bus-stand because of a column. In addition, the two-way has been reduced to a narrow one-vehicle-at-a-time stretch as the project has gobbled up much of the road.
Many lives are at risk as riders force their way through the railway crossing by sneaking under the bar. People say the signal at the crossing is a hassle, especially during peak hours when scores of vehicles pile up in front of the bus stop. Moreover, it doesn't always work, leading to further chaos.
“There are many heart-stopping moments when I see two-wheelers cross the signal seconds before the train arrives,” said Nagendra Singh, a newspaper vendor at the bus stop.
Visitors to the Sai Baba Ashram also add their bit to the general disorder by parking their cars on the main road opposite the bus-stand instead of taking a four-km detour through Channasandra.