For the second time in two weeks, CM Siddaramaiah inaugurated an unfinished road project just before the dates for the state Assembly elections are announced.
On March 1, it was the Okalipuram-Yeshwantpur signal-free corridor, which is not even in the finishing phases, that was inaugurated. According to reports, only 65% of the project was complete when the CM inaugurated it. Similarly, on Sunday, Siddaramaiah inaugurated the less-than-a-kilometre-long Hennur flyover that has been under construction for nine years now.
The contract to build the 920-metre-long flyover between Hennur and Lingarajapuram was awarded to Nagarjuna Construction Company in 2009. It was estimated that the flyover would be ready for use by December 2011. But since then the flyover has seen multiple delays and 15 missed deadlines.
The only understandable reason for this delay is a land dispute that later went to court, but residents claim that that is only part of the problem. They allege miscommunication and inaction on the part of the civic agencies. Moreover, it is the unconstructed service roads and the remaining narrow pathway which has left the locals in even greater misery.
Frustrated and angry, the residents in the area held a demonstration in October 2017 demanding prompt action to restore civic infrastructure. This provoked the Bengaluru Development Minister KJ George (also MLA of the area) to announce that the project would be completed within 75 days.
It’s March 2018 and the flyover is in the final stage of construction.
Nadia Zackria, a Hennur resident, said, “For the last couple of days, they have been working like no tomorrow. They are just inaugurating it as the CM is around. I hope they have not compromised on quality.”
Another resident Ranjith said, “It was just an eyewash. 100% work is not completed. The service road on the Lingarajapuram side of the flyover is not operational.”
“Apart from that, more work needs to be done in traffic management on either side. The road is narrow on the LR Puram side so it may not be able to hold all the traffic coming to and from the flyover. On the Hennur side – well, a myriad of issues need to be fixed. Tomorrow March 5th will determine if it makes sense at all. Some of the parapet wall stretches were being constructed as late as this morning,” Subbu, another resident, told TNM.
However, Subbu added, “As someone waiting for the last 9 years for this, I will take it in any form! I think that’s what most residents would feel.”
On previous occasions, residents had complained that work was going on at a very slow pace. “It seems that they are working just to send a message that the project is still on,” a resident said.
The Hennur flyover is also part of the alternative route to the Kempegowda International Airport. The CM also inaugurated the new stretch on Sunday.
The road will connect Hennur with RK Hegde Nagar, Bagaluru and Begur. This road will be mostly beneficial for residents of the eastern part of the city, which includes KR Puram, Byappanahalli and CV Raman Nagar. For now, this alternative route will be open on Airport Road, connecting from existing routes like Bagaluru Cross and ease traffic stagnation on Ballari Road.