Left in the back burner about three years ago, the underpass project near Rajmahal Square has made a comeback, which will connect Station Square to Sishu Bhawan in Bhubaneswar.
With an estimated completion period of 18 months, construction of the 1.65-km stretch is scheduled to begin from November this year. The Works Department has invited tender for the 41.22 crore project and bids will be opened on August 7.
When completed, this will be the first ever motorable underpass in the capital city allowing passage to the buses, light motor vehicles and 2-wheelers, and easing traffic congestion around Rajmahal Square. For the record, the underpass project was planned in conjunction with the Rajmahal fly-over bridge.
According to Chief Engineer (Roads) Bharat Chandra Pradhan, the entire length of the underpass will be 1.17 km and the approach roads measure 420 metres from Raj Mahal Square and 60 metres from Sishu Bhawan Square sides. The total length of the stretch will be 1.65 km.
When the fly-over project began, the Works Department had started work for the underpass too. A 39-metre stretch had already been dug up under the central pillars of the fly-over, was later covered under slabs. With the Raj Mahal fly-over failing to clear the vehicular logjam, as planned from the bridge, the junction emerged as a picture of traffic mess during the peak hours.
Initially, there was a roundabout to facilitate traffic flow but it led to chaos during the evening hours. Subsequently, the Works Department created a change over along the road near Bapuji Nagar-Unit I. This did not solve the problem as commuters had to take a U-turn to go towards Unit I. The problem on the other side – between Raj Mahal and Station Square – was equally bad as change-overs led to heavy jam during the peak hours.
The underpass is expected to solve the major traffic congestion issues since those approaching from Kalpana Square can either take the fly-over or use the approach roads to reach Bapuji Nagar or Unit I. Similarly, commuters heading towards airport from Station Square can take the underpass.
Apart from Rs 41.22 crore for underpass, another Rs 2.17 crore has been earmarked for the shifting of electrical equipment, PHD utilities, streetlights as well as tree felling and re-plantation.
Courtesy: The New Indian Express | Featured Image Courtesy: Bhubaneswar Post