City suffers joint pains

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Bengaluru: The city’s first flyover at Sirsi Circle is in a terrible state mainly due to poor maintenance. The expansion joints holding this
fifteen year old structure together are falling apart. Commuters dependent on the flyover say that the BBMP seems to have woken up suddenly as it promises to fix all the 14 joints at a stretch. This would mean closing the flyover 28 times at regular intervals and a week to fix each expansion joint. Will the BBMP complete the job or leave it hanging as with every other civic issue, ask Chandrashekar G. and Amit S. Upadhye
Build it and leave it, appears to have been the philosophy of the BBMP where the city’s first flyover at Sirsi Circle is concerned. The expansion joints of this 15 year-old, 2.5 km long flyover are falling apart, much to the inconvenience of commuters from Mysore, Bengaluru South, Kengeri, Vijayanagar, Nagarabhavi, Bangalore University, and Rajarajeshwarinagar, who need to use it frequently.
The civic agency, which didn’t care to do the surgery required to fix them when this first became apparent, appears to have woken up to the problem now and has promised to replace all 14 joints, taking at least a week to fix each. But this will again take a toll on the commuters as it will require closure of the flyover  28 times at regular intervals.
Tuesday morning saw traffic jams at the Chamarajpet diversion as barricades blocked the flyover towards Azadnagar. Stran­ded commuters cursed the BBMP’s poor planning and apathy of the last couple of years in repairing the flyover, arguing it could have saved them incovenience on such a scale if it had taken up the repairs as and when needed. Many were angry that no prior intimation was given to them regarding the closure either.
Things worsened as a KSRTC Rajahamsa bus found it extremely difficult to negotiate a turn, leading to more traffic pile-ups. The traffic police didnt help much as it failed to divert  traffic  from the Town Hall side. 
The BBMP, however, claims it is doing its best to avoid inconveniencing the public by doing the repairs in a phased manner. The flyover, built by L&T in 1995, has suffered due to poor maintenance and heavy flow of traffic. As the extension joints got damaged, wide gaps were created on the flyover, posing a threat to commuter safety, especially in heavy rain. Motorists and two-wheelers found themselves stuck between the open joints and so the BBMP installed speed breakers to stop vehicles from speeding on the flyover. But the move came a little too late as the expansion joints had reached the end of the road.

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