Railway officials work at maximum efficiency to pull off a project five months ahead of schedule – ROB now connects Outer Ring Road to Sarjapur over Hosur Railway line
कार्मेलाराम Carmelaram (CRLM): The Railways have pulled off a new record in the construction of a railway overbridge (RoB). The Rs.18.55-crore project that connects Outer Ring Road to Sarjapur over Hosur railway line at Carmelaram was completed in 13 months, five months ahead of its scheduled date.
The project was started in December 2012 and thrown open to traffic last week. This is the quickest RoB work carried out in the country so far; an elated railway minister M Mallikarjuna Kharge stated: “It is a record in the history of Indian Railways.” The RoB work has come as a welcome relief to thousands of working professionals who criss-cross the Carmelaram level crossing everyday.
Carmelaram RoB is a crucial link from Bangalore City to the IT corridor. A host of top IT companies and international schools are located on this stretch. Carmelaram railway line is one of the busiest railway tracks, recording a minimum of 18 crossings every day, without taking into account unscheduled goods trains.
Not surprising then that school principals in the vicinity are among those who are most vocal in appreciating the speedy completion.
Every time, a train crossed, it would delay the traffic anywhere between 15 minutes to 30 minutes. Many schools admit that around 50 buses would get struck in the jam, particularly because most of the railway crossings was at peak hours.
How they did it
An engineer who oversaw the project said, “It was all possible as we were literally working with planned schedules. Every day, our morning mantra was a countdown to the opening date. We also went for a design change where casting girders were made in a single phase rather than in two phases. Each activity was worked out as per our plan. Despite a sand lorry strike and heavy rains (last year), we could finish it on time.”
The single-phase project saved at least three months of time. “During these projects, girder casting plays a crucial role as slab casting can be taken up only after the girders. So, a slight delay in girders could delay the entire project. We had to go for 48 girders. So, instead of launching one after another (it would take at least a fortnight for further activity after a girder was cast), we decided to go for 12 girders at one go. This means we could easily complete launching of all 48 girders in around three months.
“All other projects were taken up in parallel. For example, when we launched a girder at one place, the slabs were simultaneously cast. Even the expansion joints were covered simultaneously. On spans, we went for simultaneous work where railway span and six other spans were done together. We saved another three months. Overall, we could save five months,” the official added.
The officials said they had planned to open it on January 31 but a contractor delayed asphalting work which held it up for a week.
Shylaja C, a resident of Sarjapur Road, said, “I generally go to drop my grandson whose school is beyond Carmelaram railway crossing. Though it is just six kilometres away from my house, it would take at least half an hour during peak hours. However, on Monday, which was a school day, I could reach it in flat 15 minutes. When I was discussing the issue with the principal, she jokingly said kids can no longer give Carmelaram railway line bottleneck as an excuse for coming late to school.”
The traffic jam at Carmelaram junction was such that schools like Inventure Academy had to advance timings to 7.40 am to 2.20 pm so that the students were not stuck in jam. Speaking to RailNews, Nooraine Fazal, CEO and co-founder of Inventure Academy, said, “Children used to get stuck sometimes for 45 to 60 minutes. Once, the gate was opened, a few vehicles would go on the wrong side, creating a mess. Most school timings would coincide with the closure of railway gate adding to our woes. We had actually written to the government for speedy construction. We may not revise the timings as of now as Varthur Road is still a bottleneck.”
Manila Carvalho, principal, Delhi Public School, said she was surprised to see the students singing and dancing in the school bus. They had reached school 15 minutes early. “When I asked the reason for their happiness, students said that there was no dust on the road and it was no longer a bumpy ride near the railway line. I can say that this is definitely a blessing for all the school children as travel time is reduced and earlier, a few of the students had to miss assembly if the buses were stuck in jams.”
Greenwood High principal Aloysius DMello said they used to give instructions to students and bus drivers to be early so they don’t get stuck at the railway line. “As the road was a narrow one in pathetic condition, it was very difficult to drive. I think it is a big sigh of relief for all the schools located in the vicinity,” he added.
Nishanth Mohan, a techie, said, “Though most of the tech companies were located before the railway line, we found houses beyond it as rentals were cheaper. We used to get stuck on our way to office and back.”