Will Ejipura Flyover Ever Be Completed? The Story of Bangalore’s Notorious Flyover Construction
The marriage function was at 8 p.m. As Bangaloreans, traffic on the road is always in our plans, and my family and I started from home with plenty of room to make up for it. But something that threw our plans out of the window was that we were traveling across the Ejipura-BTM to get there. We got stuck in the traffic for well more than an hour. Eventually, we could not arrive on time, thanks to Ejipura’s ongoing, never-ending flyover construction. Traffic was standing still, and the roads were blocked. Large, expanding cities will inevitably experience increasing traffic congestion. Despite everyone hating it, traffic congestion during rush hours is a natural byproduct of how modern civilizations function. But the notorious traffic congestion at Ejipura is much more than the normal course. The experience made me look further.
Ejipura Flyover Project
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) decided to build the flyover connecting Ejipura and Madiwala to reduce traffic in the Ejipura-Koramangala area in 2014. Back then, the Ejipura area was getting more congested with every passing month, and it was catching up to the waiting time at the Silkboard signal, one of the most congested signals in the city.
It is important to note that the flyover project did not fully convince the residents in the area. The demand was all attributed to commuters between Koramangala, BTM, and Indiranagar. A tender with a 30-month timeframe was granted in 2017. The initial due date for commissioning the Ejipura flyover was November 2019.
Delay in the Flyover Construction
Things didn’t go according to BBMP’s plan even once. The first contractor, who won the tender, Simplex, could not finish the 2.5 km-long flyover within two years due to obstacles encountered during construction, including the alleged diversion of allocated funds, forcing the BBMP to cancel the contract. In addition to the contractor’s insolvency, the frustrating delay in the project was mainly due to the hindrances in transferring defense and private land and clearance to cut 40 full-grown trees. In 2019, the first deadline year, the project was still in its initial stages. The BBMP then postponed the deadline to December 2020 and imposed a fine on Simplex. However, despite objections from locals and elected officials, nothing actually changed.
The project was far from its final lap when it crossed the second deadline of 2020. Then the pandemic happened. While other construction and infrastructure development projects acquired a vigorous pace during the pandemic, the Ejipura flyover project moved at a snail’s pace. The contractor had already received two letters and multiple cautions from the BBMP for missing the new deadline. The flyover project had been inactive for more than a year. Ramalinga Reddy, a former minister, local MLA, and other locals who were badly hampered by the inadequate work protested in response to this.
Finally, last year, the Urban Development Department had enough and instructed the BBMP to issue a new tender in accordance with the requirements of the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act while canceling the one awarded to Simplex. The project was only 46 percent completed. Two bidders participated in the tender floated last August, but neither was awarded the contract due to technical issues.
However, once the tender awarding process is complete, the new contractor will be given a 15-month deadline to complete the pending works, which is about 54 percent of the total work and is valued at Rs 141.6 crore. According to BBMP Chief Engineer Vinayak Sugur, the work order will be issued by February 20. He is positive that the construction will resume by March this year.
Meanwhile, the residents in the area are furious. The civic authority, BBMP, recently assured representatives of the area that the structure will be completed within March 2024, hopefully without any further delay. However, the residents have hardly any reason to believe this as the second tender process to find a contractor to complete the work is still going, and the authorities are yet to finalize a contractor.
The New Deadline
The excessive delay in constructing the notorious Ejipura flyover in Koramangala made the road route notorious. The incomplete project poses threats to commuters in diverse ways. For instance, construction debris being dumped below the flyover is a grave danger to residents and motorists alike. The metal barricades and debris on the road pose a danger to two-wheeler riders, other vehicles, and pedestrians. In fact, that is the of the reasons for residents being furious, as the BBMP so far has not taken any action to prevent the risk from the debris.
“I have been in Bangalore for more than eight years now, and I hardly remember the time there was no construction debris on this part of the road as a part of the flyover construction. There is no doubt that the flyover will make the commutation between Indiranagar and BTM easier. It is hard to believe that the flyover will be completed anytime soon, given the project’s status. Not even half of the jobs are finished,” says Sankar Lal, a motorist in Koramangala. He echoes the sentiments of almost all commuters who pass through the area.