The southern bypass catering to the Chandigarh-Bathinda and Sirhind-Bathinda routes which was to be completed in 2011 is still deemed unfit for public use due to non-conformity to safety standards.
The construction of the 18.25 km bypass worth `83 crore was initiated in 2006 and assigned to the Border Roads Organisation (BRO).
After missing over five deadlines, the BRO managed to complete the project in June 2014. However, its construction sparked a controversy when the Public Works Department (Bridges & Roads), on orders from the union ministry, took over the project from the BRO to execute four-laning of the bypass in June this year and found anomalies which compromised safety.
In its report to centre government, the PWD listed out the inconsistencies- weak embankments, poorly-designed curves, absence of an underpass which was planned to divert traffic to Dakala, Main and Samana and improper side railings. PWD executive engineer NP Singh said they had sought more time and `12 crore from the transport ministry to repair these faults before starting work on the four-laning.
"We have asked them to either allow us to rectify these glitches or direct the BRO to correct them before we start four-laning," he said.
The bypass was planned to ease traffic snarls on city roads and commuters would be saved of 45 minutes by taking it.
Meanwhile, in spite of warning signs placed at both ends of the bypass, commuters are using the route anyway.
In spite of repeated pressure from the state and central governments and the local administration, the BRO failed to complete the project. Although scheduled to be completed in March 2011, an extension was given until 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 authorities 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 `83 crore to `110 crore.