The trash on the bridge cracked


For three months, a 20-year-old bridge in Varthur has been off limits, except for ambulances. It had developed cracks and was on the verge of collapse, like many other constructions are turning out to be in the city of late.

The fact is, now, the aforementioned bridge has turned into a garbage segregation point where trash-carrying trucks are stationed.

Entering through the cracks on the said bridge, stagnating leachate from the trucks is mixing with the water below, eventually flowing into a lake. The BBMP had built a new bridge adjacent to the old one for vehicular movement last year.

It had promised to fix the old bridge. Now, though, the corporation seems to have abandoned the repair work halfway, opening the old bridge up for parking the garbage trucks.

The trucks are adding to the existing traffic woes, especially for ambulances. The emergency vehicles get stuck in the one-way traffic.

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Whitefield traffic police said the new bridge has been operational for a year. Police are only allowing ambulances to pass through the old bridge due to the one-way traffic. At the moment, thanks to the parked garbage trucks, the ambulances are using the new bridge, causing traffic congestions often.

“We have raised the issue several times with the BBMP; to remove the garbage trucks as it affects free flow of traffic,” said one of the traffic cops on duty near the bridge.

Residents of Mahadevapura complain of foul smell. The slow moving traffic during peak hours makes it worse for them to frequent the stretch.

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The bridge is in an unhygienic condition, they said, adding that the foul smell emanating from the stagnating leachate permeates the neighbourhood. According to BBMP marshals deployed at the bridge, there are fences and CCTV cameras around the bridge to check people from throwing garbage into the water.

“At times, the trash from the parked garbage trucks catches the wind and falls into the water below despite having a netting around the bridge,” a marshal said.

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Lake activist Jagadish Reddy said the garbage is compressed into the trucks, which generates the leachate. “The old bridge was built in 2001. A bridge’s average life span is about 90 years. Within 20 years, the bridge was damaged, which indicates poor quality of work. The bridge is part of state highway 35. A lot of heavy goods vehicles used to pass through it. The bridge was poorly managed by the agencies concerned. It was supposed to be fixed in 2018 after it started shaking. Vehicle movement was stopped then. It was fixed temporarily using bonding agents which normally lasts for about 30 years. The fix did not even last a year and the bridge was abandoned again,” he said.

The old bridge was built in 2001. A bridge’s average life span is 90 years. Within 20 years the bridge was damaged, which indicates poor quality of work.

— Jagadish Reddy, lake activist

Executive engineer Nandish confirmed the cracks on the old bridge were fixed with bonding agents: however, new cracks developed on other slabs in May following which the work was put on hold. “We are constructing another bridge next to the new bridge that opened recently. There won’t be much traffic issues with two bridges in place. We are yet to decide what to do with the old bridge,” he said.

According to the area health inspector, earlier, the garbage trucks used to park in an empty ground nearby but due to the ongoing road work there, the vehicles are parked on the bridge now: “It’s been three months since the trucks have been parking on the bridge. We shall find alternative spots for parking soon.”



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Sagar Biswas

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