Nine years after the concept was first mooted, the proposal to construct eight underpasses in the city to ease traffic congestion has finally been shelved. Claiming that the project would be a hindrance to the Metro project when it does come up, the UT administration has scrapped the proposal to construct two underpasses — at the Sector 17 ISBT and Aroma light point. This is even as the municipal corporation had allocated ` 25 crore for the construction of underpasses in its 2016-17 budget.
“Both the underpasses will be a hindrance to the execution of the Metro project,” a senior officer with the UT administration told HT.
City mayor Arun Sood feigned ignorance on the scrapping of the project. “I am not aware of the development, but I feel the Metro is also important, but still we will take up the issue with UT administration,” said Sood. The city does have an underpass that connects Sector 15 and 11.
BACKGROUND TO THE PROJECT
The effort to construct underpasses in the city started in 2007 when the UT administration spent Rs 10 lakh on a tour of three officers — finance secretary SK Sandhu, chief engineer VK Bhardwaj and chief architect Sunita Monga — to Belgium (Brussels and Antwerp) and France (Paris) to understand the concept, construction and maintenance of underpasses.
Since then after several twists and turns (see box), it was in July 2015 that the MC sent a proposal for the construction of eight underpasses to the administration. The administration had then rejected six proposals and kept two pending.
VIEWS ON THE PROJECT
“It is unfortunate that after putting in efforts for nearly 10 years, the important project has been rejected. The construction is precisely according to the plan of Le Corbusier and we should go for it. Any specific problem could be easily sorted out,” said Surinder Bahga, an architect who is also a nominated councillor in the MC House.
George Kuruvila, a leading Bangalore-based traffic planner, who is now based in Chandigarh, said, “Chandigarh should avoid unnecessary flyovers and underpasses. Intelligent traffic planning, including synchronised traffic system, may be far more effective and cost- efficient, as has been done in other cities designed on the same pattern.”
He added that cities like Bangalore had spent around Rs 15,000 crore over three years beginning 2009 due to senseless planning, even as the traffic congestion had not been tackled.