Not so fast: ‘Rapid road’ on Old Madras Road yet to open; motorists struggle with detours

Only minor work left, say BBMP officials, as pilot project misses three-day deadline

November 30, 2022 09:46 pm | Updated 09:46 pm IST - Bengaluru

Roadworks under way on Old Madras Road in Bengaluru.

Roadworks under way on Old Madras Road in Bengaluru. | Photo Credit: Navya M.S.

Bengaluru

Regular users of the busy Old Madras Road (OMR) in east Bengaluru, who had been putting up with its poor state, were relieved and elated when the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) announced that the road will be taken up for repair under the pilot ‘rapid road’ project. The civic body on November 23 claimed that the work on the road, which sees heavy traffic throughout the day, including inter-State buses and vehicles, would be completed in three days.

Cut to the present and motorists are still struggling with detours as the roadworks have not yet been completed. Curing, ramp, and footpath works were going on Wednesday, leading to traffic gridlocks at many places on the stretch. What has made it worse is that roads around Indiranagar area too are undergoing white-topping.

When the BBMP started the ‘rapid road’ work on OMR, civic officials said that while white-topping roads take around 30 days, this rapid road work would only take two or three days. The BBMP took up the project on a 500-metre stretch. The project includes the fabrication of the concrete slabs, which are 20 feet in length and 5 feet in width, in the factory itself and embedding them on the road.

Motorists continue to be affected

However, with the project still incomplete, commuters and the public are forced to use alternative routes. “Due to the ongoing construction work on OMR, it is hard for us to commute. Our deliveries are being delayed. The government should make sure the work is completed as soon as possible,” said Azharuddin, an online food delivery partner.

Another motorist complained about the delay in the white-topping work on 100-feet road and Paramahansa Yogananda Road. “A lot of people use the road. The BBMP could have taken up the pilot project on any other road that is not as busy as this,” said Ramchandra.

Meanwhile, BBMP officials said the concrete slabs had been laid on the stretch and only a few works, including the ramp and footpath work, are ongoing. “As per the earlier deadline, we have completed the rapid road project, but only a little work is pending. The stretch will be opened for vehicle movement in three days,” a senior BBMP official told The Hindu.

Curing will take time, say experts

Meanwhile, experts feel that the rapid road, which is widely used in developed countries, can be considered in Bengaluru since the roadworks will be completed in three days. However, they acknowledged that delays would happen during the curing work. Traffic expert M.N. Srihari told The Hindu, “Rapid road is better when compared with white-topping since the work will be completed fast. However, curing will take some more time. That the BBMP has to somehow manage.”

UltraTech Cement is the innovation partner in the project. Though the project will be completed soon, the cost of the project will be more than 20% of the white-topping project since the precast concrete slabs have to be transported from the factory to the project spot.

(Inputs from Navya M.S.  and Bharath Gowda B.R.) 

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