Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Magic box set to go double lane

Magic box set to go double lane

79 two-lane underpasses proposed to ensure smoother traffic flow

Sunitha Rao R and Senthalir S. Bangalore



It's a proposal meant to make commuting in the city easier. The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has proposed building 79 two-lane underpasses in 12 signal-free corridors. This is the first time that the BBMP will be building two-lane underpasses; all the underpasses that the city already has are single-lane ones, only about four-and-a-half to six metres wide. The two-lane underpasses will use 'magic boxes' seven-and-a-half metres wide, made of pre-cast material.
Speaking to DNA, TN Chikkarayappa, chief engineer (major roads), BBMP said: "The project is estimated to cost Rs2,500 crore, and it will be part of 12 signal-free traffic corridors. The width of the underpasses will be 7.5 metres. The single-lane underpasses used to be 4.5 or 6 metres wide. With the greater density of traffic flow, we feel the need for more two-lane underpasses."
Each of the underpasses is estimated to cost Rs3.3 lakh; the single-lane underpasses used to cost Rs2.8 lakh each. Work is expected to proceed at a swift pace, since the underpasses will be made with pre-cast material. Chikkarayappa said, "The first of the underpasses is expected to come up at Okalipuram junction."
Opinion on the use of the boxes, however, is divided. MN Sreehari, traffic expert, said, "The technology behind magic boxes and the use of prefabricated material is fine. However, the problem is that once the box is placed, there is usually a slope on either edge of the magic box, which must be filled with sand and pieces of stone. It is next to impossible to do this with precision, manually. This causes the boxes to be weak — when it rains, water gets collected at the two ends of the magic boxes, and we have swimming pools on the edges. The whole road is exposed to risk. You only have to look at the magic box on Bellary Road to see what I mean."
Sreehari added that the signal-free corridors too are likely to lead to greater confusion. In his opinion, the way to deal with congestion is not to keep building more and more, but to more effectively manage traffic flow. The solution lies in managing traffic without added construction, opines this traffic expert.
The 12 signal-free corridors will come up at: Dr Rajkumar Road: from Yeshwanthpur Junction to Okalipuram (5 km), Chord Road: from Mysore Road Junction to CV Raman Road (10.5 km), Magadi Road: from Chord Road to Outer Ring Road (3.5 km) , from Mysore Road Junction to Central Silk Board Junction (14.5 km), Central Silk Board Junction to Vellara Junction (6 km), Bannerghatta Road, from IIM-B to Wilson Garden (9.5 km), Vellara Junction to Whitefield via Varthur and HAL (13.5 km), Agara Lake to Sirsi Circle via Lalbagh Fort Road (8.5 kms), City centre to Kengeri via Sirsi Circle (15.5 km), Yeshwanthpur industrial area to Hebbal, between NH 4 to NH 7 (6.5 km), Mekhri Circle to Benniganahalli via Jayamahal Road (12.5 km) and Cubbon Road to Outer Ring Road via Kamraj Road, Buddhavihar Road and Hennur Road (7km).

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