Already delayed by four years, the Public Works Department (PWD) has finally started the renovation of the 18.25-km southern bypass for the last time to rectify its faulty design before it is opened for traffic.
The union ministry of transport has allocated funds worth Rs 3 crore to the PWD to correct the faults.
The bypass, catering to the Chandigarh-Bathinda and Sirhind-Bathinda routes, was to be completed in 2011 but was declared unfit for public use by PWD officials due to non-conformity to safety standards.
An official in PWD revealed that the repair of the bypass had started and it would be completed in another 20 days if the weather remained favourable.
"In case of rain in the coming days and further dip in mercury, the renovation may extend to two-three months," the official said.
Construction began in 2006
The construction of the bypass, initiated in 2006, was undertaken by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO). After missing over five deadlines, the BRO managed to complete the project in June 2014 and handed it over to the PWD for four laning.
After taking over the project, in its report to the Centre, the PWD listed out the inconsistencies in the bypass- weak embankments, poorly-designed curves, absence of an underpass which was planned to divert traffic to Dakala, Main and Samana and improper side railings.
Moreover, there were severe depressions and bumps on the roads. The PWD had also sought funds worth `12 crore from the transport ministry to repair the faults before allocating tenders to execute the work of four-laning.
Pertinently, the transport ministry sent their inspectors for field survey to oversee ground realities in September, following which the ministry allocated funds in November and gave its nod to the PWD to start work.
PWD executive engineer NP Singh said the renovation work was on in full swing. He added that besides strengthening embankments, the glitches in designing of the curves and railings were also being corrected.
"We will open the bypass for traffic once we are done with renovation as four laning will be done simultaneously," Singh said.
Singh said PWD had already invited tenders for the four laning of the bypass scheduled for December 11.
The bypass was planned to ease traffic snarls on city roads and cut down travelling time by 45 minutes.
In spite of repeated pressure from the state and central governments and the local administration, the BRO failed to complete the project on time. Scheduled to be completed in March 2011, an extension was given to the organisation till October 2012 due to lack of raw material, absence of contractors and cost escalation.
Later, the then Patiala deputy commissioner GK Singh directed the BRO to complete the project by December 2012, after which the state intervened in the matter and set the deadline as August 15, 2013.
The BRO finally handed over the completed project, albeit with anomalies, to the PWD in June 2014. This delay escalated the project's cost from Rs 83 crore to Rs 110 crore.