IIE panel submits technical report to DC, caution that repairs no guarantee of safety in future
A technical committee of the Institution of Engineers, Mysuru local centre, has suggested that the road leading to Nandi at Chamundi Hills which witnessed repeated landslips during the recent rains, should be closed to vehicles and instead be converted to a trekking path.
The committee members visited the site of landslips on November 19 and collected data and saw vulnerable sections of the road.
The report, with technical details explaining the cause of the landslip and providing options on what could be done, was submitted to Deputy Commissioner Bagadi Gautham on Wednesday.
While one option was to repair the road, which would cost nearly ₹30 crore, the members said the stretch will require heavy and repeated expenditure for maintenance and repairs and there would be no guarantee of its continuing to provide motorable communication from the view point to Nandi statue.
Another option was to abandon the linking road for traffic as there was an alternative road to Nandi besides the steps.
The damaged 1.4 km of road could be converted to a trekking path which provides a good view of Mysuru, according to the experts. This will also result in considerable savings, the report said.
The committee comprised S.G. Sudhir Vombatkere, M. Lakshman, B.S. Prabahakara, H.S. Suresh Babu, H. Kishore Chandra, and M.K. Nanjaiah.
The report said the link road from the view point to Nandi statue, where the landslips took place, was constructed in 1903. A 20m stretch of the road collapsed in September 2019 and it was repaired by constructing a retaining wall and filling earth behind it. But there were landslips on October 10, November 4, and November 18.
The spot visit indicated that other sectors of the road showed signs of distress and attributed it to incessant rains and the inability of the longitudinal-cross drainage system to handle the volume of water. The report cautioned that hill slopes devoid of trees and undergrowth cover would be prone to saturation-erosion failure than forested slopes.
In case the authorities preferred to repair the road, the committee cautioned that climate change induced heavy rainfall with increasing frequency and high intensity is expected to increase and may create a situation of saturation-erosion-slope failure and avalanches in hilly terrains.
Even mild seismic tremors will aggravate the instability of the hill slopes which are already weakened by saturation and erosion.
Thus it may be difficult to assure normal life of the road even assuming there was regular preventive maintenance, according to the committee.
Apart from calling for closing the roads to traffic and developing it to a trekking path, the committee said the savings can be utilised to take up slope protection measures and preserve the environment of Chamundi Hills.
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