Rerouting traffic would ease congestion, say experts
Service roads along Outer Ring Road have been dug up to erect pillars for Namma Metro’s Red Line, causing inconvenience to residents of Kalyan Nagar, HRBR Layout and Kammanahalli. They fear the pillars will make it difficult for them to access the inner roads.
Raju Zacharia, a resident of Kammanahalli who often passes by HRBR Layout, informed The Observer: “Construction of pillars on the road is only going to cause great difficulty for residents of the adjoining areas. They will no longer be able to access from Outer Ring Road (ORR). BMRCL should have taken it underground.”
Muthuraju, who runs a helmet store in HRBR Layout, said: “The construction of Metro pillars on the service road is going to block it and people won’t come to shops along the road.”
The work is expected to increase traffic congestion near Manyata Tech Park, near the already-crowded Nagawara Junction. Divyanshu, an engineering student who often travels to Hebbal via ORR, complained of traffic jams.
Asked how the traffic police would deal with the situation, M.S. Prakash, an assistant sub-inspector, said: “When the work is at full pace, we will look into traffic diversion. Moreover, construction work can be restricted to particular timings to reduce traffic congestion.”
Dr V Ramesh, an expert on urban planning, disagrees with the decision to take Phase 2 of the Metro underground. “Unlike Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad, Bengaluru is full of hills and valleys. Soil condition plays an important role in construction. Blasting, a process used in underground Metro construction, is dangerous for Bengaluru. It will have an adverse impact on surrounding structures and affect citizens’ safety. That is why an area assessment needs to be undertaken,” he added.
Asked if poor urban planning was responsible for the problems associated with Metro construction, he agreed but added: “It is difficult to predict the population change in urban areas. Bengaluru’s population has grown exponentially over the past 20 years. Urban planning plays a limited role unless a city is built from scratch, as Chandigarh and Gandhinagar were. Rerouting traffic is the best solution to the problem”
M.N. Sreehari, an adviser to the Karnataka government on traffic, transportation and infrastructure, agreed with Ramesh. He said while service lanes are of great utility, Metro services are of greater importance and rerouting is the best option.
The Red Line of Namma Metro (Phase 2) construction work between Gottigere and Nagawara is estimated to cost Rs 5,047 crore. The line is proposed to be mostly underground, though there will be elevated sections. BMRCL’s deadline for all Phase 2 projects is 2023.
According to a Hindu report, the project has faced roadblocks in the tendering process. A tender floated for the tunnel network in June 2017 was cancelled after bidders quoted prices nearly 70% higher than BMRCL estimates. It was estimated that the project would cost Rs. 5,047 crore, but the bidders quoted Rs 8,553 crore.
TheBMRCL PRO was unavailable for comment.