The shaky Varthur bridge connecting Varthur to Whitefield and Electronics City has still not been repaired, with officials saying it would take a month more.The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) undertook repair work during the end of May after it received several complaints by worried commuters claiming that the bridge shook when vehicles passed on it. Since then, heavy vehicles have not been allowed to ply on the bridge.
Jagdish Reddy, a resident of Varthur, said the earlier deadlines issued for completion of the repair work were July 31 and August 31. “A bonding agent has been applied at some gaps but not completely, as some gaps are still visible. We haven’t seen any progress in work for at least 20 days. In addition, truckers ply across the bridge by bribing police officials,” Reddy said.
Nooraine Fazal, a resident of the area, said, “These things take some time but frankly, we need a stronger bridge and more width on the road. I feel bad for the residents of Varthur village.”Reddy added that the construction of a new bridge besides the existing one, was a good move, but questioned the decision of beginning construction during monsoon as rainfall could hamper the work. He said residents were forced to use the bridge as the alternate roads were too tardy.
A BBMP official from the Major Roads Department, which is carrying out the repair work, attributed the delay to the nature of repairs involved. The official said gaps in concrete, termed honeycombs, had formed below the girders (horizontal concrete beams), which had reduced the strength of the bridge. Officials had to inject a bonding agent into the gaps to fill them.
Another issue with the bridge was that the bearing used had worn out and become compressed, which had caused the excessive shaking. “The bearing needed to be changed. We got it manufactured from a private firm in Bhopal, and then tested its strength at a testing unit. It cleared the test, and now we have to lift the girder to fix the bearing. Once that is done, we can do the rest of the work,” the official said.
The official admitted that rainfall would hamper the work. BBMP has excavated about 10-15 metres adjoining the old bridge for constructing the new bridge, and water has completely filled the site. This has cut off access to areas below the old bridge. But still, the official said the remaining work would be completed in one month.