Bengaluru Mayor Sampath Raj promised that the situation will be fixed immediately and that occasional rainfall is causing hindrance to the inspection process.

Shaky Varthur bridge leaves Bengaluru commuters worried for their safetyNooraine Fazal
news Civic Issues Thursday, May 24, 2018 - 17:38

After multiple incidents of Bengaluru’s Varthur lake frothing and garbage being dumped on the lake bed, a more pressing issue has hit residents of Whitefield and adjoining areas.

The shaky Varthur bridge, which connects the neighbourhood to Whitefield and Electronic City, has for the past one week left anxious commuters worried for their safety.

Alerted by citizens, BBMP officials along with MLA Arvind Limbavali had visited the location of the bridge on May 22.

Speaking to TNM on Thursday, Bengaluru Mayor Sampath Raj said the situation will be fixed “immediately” and that occasional rainfall is causing hindrance to the inspection process.

“The engineers have already gone there. Experts are trying to figure out how the bridge can be reinforced. We are aware of the situation but because of the rain they are not able to do so. Even today morning a team has also gone and we will get a report by evening. We will take a decision on the next step today only," the mayor said.

“We will fix the situation immediately as a lot of lives are dependent on the bridge, and we cannot take risk,” he added.

But locals pointed out that it is the BBMP's lapse in action that has led to the situation.

“Three years ago, a similar situation was reported and the BBMP along with experts had inspected the bridge. Then, they had found that although the structure of the bridge was fine, the bearings needed to be replaced. But this was not done,” said Nooraine Fazal, Managing Trustee of Inventure Academy, which is located on the stretch. She, however, added that the response from the BBMP, MLA has been swift.

Residents have been assured by BBMP officials on ground that all repair work will be done in two weeks’ time with work carried out in the night.

TNM could not reach BBMP Chief Engineer for Major Roads for a comment.

Other than personal vehicles, several school buses and trucks also use the bridge regularly. Some residents allege that the significant rise in population may be part of the problem.

Another resident, Sampath Ramanajun, who uses the bridge daily said, “Even after knowing that the Varthur bridge is weak and shaky, we are taking a life risk while crossing it, as we have no other alternate route to commute. While crossing, we feel as if we are on landmine considering the heavy traffic flow on peak hours.”

“We appreciate the quick inspection done by MLA and we hope officials will act on a war-footing. Regardless, Varthur bridge need complete redesign as in recent years commuting population and vehicle traffic has increased multi-fold in this area,” Sampath added.

MN Sreehari, who was formerly an advisor to the state government on traffic and infrastructure said, "Oscillations and vibrations are common whenever there is a constant flow of traffic. But unnatural oscillations means the bridge has to be rectified at the earliest, otherwise it will crack or collapse. The bearings of the bridge can be replaced depending on the specifics."

Additionally, a parallel bridge was demolished by the BBMP recently.

Locals said that three parallel bridges were promised by the authorities following a similar incident in 2015.  

 

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