Monday, November 23, 2009

The root causes of traffic snarls on Old Madras Road

The root causes of traffic snarls on Old Madras Road are cable-stayed bridge over KR Puram railway station and railway bridge at Benniganahalli


You may experience one of these two things if just drive for a kilometer from Benniganahalli to KR Puram railway station on Old Madras Road: You may either faint looking at the sea of vehicles ahead of you or develop serious symptoms of road rage! Blame it on faulty engineering design of the road or the laid-back attitude of officials in finding early solutions to past mistakes, the Benningahalli-Tin Factory-KR Puram railway station stretch has turned out to be a daily nightmare for motorists. A majority of those who use this road are techies travelling from North Bangalore to the tech-corridors in Whitefield and Electronics City. This is also the stretch where the Outer Ring Road criss-crosses with National Highway4.
But the bane here is two bridges: The cable-stayed bridge over KR Puram railway station and the railway bridge at Benniganahalli. Both the bridges have turned out to be ‘chicken-necks’. The Bennginahalli bridge reduces an eight-lane road to two-lanes: resulting in jamming vehicles coming from Tirupati-Chennai side into the city as well as the outbound vehicles. Though roadusers have complained to the authorities countless times about the bottleneck, widening of the bridge is a dream yet to come true. During peak hours, vehicles are seen stranded for over a kilometer on either side of this bridge.
The other nightmare is the pancreatic bulge at the KR Puram railway station, below the cable-stayed bridge. Vehicles going towards Information Technology Park-Bangalore (ITPB) and Marathalli-Hosur Road pass through the opening below the bridge. A traffic jam here starts at around 6:30 am when most of the trains arrive at the station. Swati Narayan, a call-centre employee, said, While autorickshaws and taxies are parked haphazardly on the road, BMTC buses join the competition of wooing train passengers. The resultant effect is a snarl. What annoys everyone is when the trucks pile-up behind these vehicles and start honking incessantly. It is irritation to the core.
The nuisance reaches a crescendo between 8 am and 11 am, when everyone gets on to the road. A bus stop near the railway station also slows down the traffic. It takes 25-30 minutes for a motorist to travel from Tin Factory to KR Puram railway station in the mornings. The same mayhem prevails in the evening too. While motorists curse the traffic cops for the mess, the latter point towards faulty design of the bridge and claim helplessness. The bridge was constructed to ease traffic on the national highway. Nobody had thought that Whitefield will turn out to be the tech-corridor at that point of time, a cop explained.
The traffic blocks caused by both the bridges have a cascading effect on the pedestrians at the Tin Factory junction, the mid-point between the two bridges. With traffic density being 12,000 passenger car units (PCUs) on the road, Tin Factory junction has turned out to be a death-trap for pedestrians. On an average, about 90 fatal accidents and 600 non-fatal accidents used to be reported in KR Puram traffic jurisdiction. But some pro-active measures taken by the traffic police in the recent times have come as a breather for motorists.
K R Puram police inspector (traffic) B K Umesh has succeeded in streamlining traffic to some extent by deploying a whopping eight cops at Tin Factory junction during peak hours. Though pedestrian signals were installed recently, they keep conking out because of technical errors.

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