For the last four years, two large and important parts of north Bangalore have been completely cut off from each other.
The areas that have become islands with just a level crossing as a narrow means of connectivity are Kodigehalli and Tindlu due to the railway underpass work at Kodigehalli which has been stalled due to protracted litigation.
As a result, a large volume of traffic between the two areas has been passing through the narrow Sahakar Nagar railway level crossing next to Kodigehalli Railway Station.
Now, there is partial relief as a new bi-directional box-type underpass has come up around 150 metres away from the railway crossing at NTI layout granting residents and road users some relief.
The new access along the rail line towards Yelahanka has a height restriction – only an LCV without a protruding body can pass through but it’s a boon for cyclists, two, three and smaller four wheelers. “I am happy that we do not have to wait for 20-25 minutes to pass through the railway level crossing especially during peak hours. But, I found that one side of this approach road has not been asphalted,” says Shruti Mohan, a Vidyaranyapura resident.
BBMP officials admitted that some pending works remained but assured motorists that it would be fixed soon.
Our correspondent and photographer who visited the brand new underpass found it leaking but BBMP officials said that was due to the continuous rain.
A little more than 500 metres along the same track towards Yeswantpur is the under- construction Kodigehalli underpass. “Work has come to a complete standstill for the last two years,” claims Babu a local resident. He points to the fact that most of the work has been complete except for the approach road from D. Rajagopal road side as property owners have refused to part with their land.
As some of them have also gone to court demanding higher compensation or refused to part with more land, the BBMP has shrunk the size of the underpass from the planned 110 feet width to 88 feet.
“This has to be completed soon to help decongest the Sahakar Nagar residential neighbourhood where the volume of traffic, including heavy vehicles, has increased,” says Balraj, secretary, Sahakarnagar Residents Welfare Association.
While there is no clarity on when the Kodigehalli project would be completed, the whole area has become dangerous with protruding steel ribs, cement slabs and mounds of earth.
“Every time it rains, water collects and poses danger to those passing by. Stagnant water also becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes. We are very scared as many residents are getting dengue fever,” says Savitha who stays at the corner of the railway station road.
Currently, traffic on this stretch has been diverted through the level crossing where traffic jams are common as the gate on the high density rail corridor connecting Yeswantpur and Yelahanka railway stations is frequently shut.
But, for the moment, residents of Canara Bank layout, NTI layout, Vidyaranyapura, Tindlu have found a slightly faster way to reach Kodigehalli signal, says Veereshwara, a local resident.