Citizens await the widening of railway underbridges at level crossings as traffic jams hold them up for considerable time. Alternatively, they want overbridges constructed.
At the Malleswaram crossing, they have to wait long to get to the other side of the road.B. Kumar, a daily commuter, informed The Observer: “People don’t maintain the lane (discipline). It compounds the situation. Also, the Bank of India side of the crossing has merging traffic as roads from the right and left meet.”
People get stuck at the crossing for 15-20 minutes during peak hours on weekdays, although during weekends, it’s manageable, said Rajesh Kumar, a daily commuter.
The Pottery Road railway underpass is narrow, although it has two lanes for traffic to move in either direction. Further, at one end of the crossing, merging traffic aggravates the situation. During rain, water logging can further worsen the situation.
The Malleswaram crossing has a different situation: it has a manual system which entails a gatewoman lifting and dropping the bar that serves as a gate.
Gatewoman Fahiminhisa shared: “Gates are closed even when just an engine has to pass the crossing … until I close the gate, the signal won’t turn green.”
The Observer noticed that gates were closed four minutes before a train arrived at the crossing. It took around 50 seconds for the train to pass the crossing. It takes up to threeminutes after a train has passed for the gatewoman to lift the bar.
At Pottery Circle, vehicles frequently get backed up because the road under the railway bridge is narrow, and a traffic signal adjacent to the bridge makes the situation worse.
Barkath, a repair shop owner near the underpass, said there are traffic jams due to this situation.
The Observer noticed the traffic signal was red for 90 seconds before turning green for 50 seconds.
The road going towards Pottery Circle from Netajiroad sees a high traffic flow.
Mohammad, who frequently takes the Pottery Circle route, said: It’s a pain point for us. We need the road to be widened.What if some day an ambulance gets stuck in the jam?”
“The road needs to be widened as the Pottery Circle crossing often has traffic jams. Something needs to be done, or traffic diversion is the other option,” said Ashok, a traffic police officer.
People say that they either want the road leading to the crossing widened or an overbridge constructed.
Basant Kumar, a daily traveller, said: “25-30 minutes of jam is a given. An overbridge will be the best.”
BBMP said it is planning to initiate the process of building an underpass or overbridge by sending a proposal to the Indian Railways.
Naveen, Assistant Engineer,BBMP,said: “An underpass is the best option if there’s space that connects to the wider road. If a lot of traffic passes through a level crossing, we will build an underpass or an overbridge.”
Nazir Ahmed, senior section engineer, South Western Railway,said the Railways have a policy to eliminate level crossings by constructing underpasses or overbridges. Since 2008,the Railways have taken up work on several level crossings.
The Karnataka government and the Railways have tried to eliminate crossings, but at places, due to constraints of space or land acquisition issues, this is not possible.