The underpass at K.R. Circle is usually waterlogged during heavy rains and the traffic police block access to the underpass by placing barricades, like it did on Sunday evening.
This ad-hoc arrangement is in place just a stone’s throw away from the Vidhana Soudha, the administrative nerve centre of the State.
Bengaluru’s Chief Civic Commissioner Tushar Giri Nath, speaking to presspersons on Sunday, said that civic officials usually coordinate with the traffic police to not allow traffic in underpasses during heavy rains, and the civic body will investigate how the car went into the underpass despite it being barricaded.
Mr. Nath also said that the drainage system in the underpass may have fallen short as there was a squall and heavy rain in a short interval of time.
“I have asked the engineer-in-chief to submit a report on the health status of the underpass by Monday afternoon. We will open it only after taking corrective measures,” he said.
A senior civic official and a traffic police personnel said this was not the first time the underpass has been flooded.
“The underpass at K.R. Circle usually floods even with light showers. Barricading the underpass is an ad-hoc measure not to be relied upon. The drainage system in the underpass needs to be fixed,” said a senior traffic official.
A senior engineer from the civic body said that there were only two possibilities why underpasses flood. Either the drainage system installed is insufficient and doesn’t have a good gradient for the water to flow out or the drainage system is choked with solid waste, he said.
“Ideally, drainage systems in all underpasses need to be cleaned up regularly during the rainy season. Though the monsoon hasn’t set in yet, we know that pre-monsoon showers are actually more damaging in the city. No drive to remove silt from the drainage system in the underpasses has been taken up this year,” the official said.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah hinted at the drainage system in the underpass being choked and that there was a need to remove silt from it.
He blamed the previous government for lack of maintenance and said that they will now not only take up a drive to remove silt from all drains, but also remove encroachments from storm-water drains (SWDs) to ensure rains do not cause damage to lives and property in the city.