Thursday, November 05, 2009

WE DON’T REALLY NEED SO MANY UNDERPASSES

WE DON’T REALLY NEED SO MANY UNDERPASSES
For, They’re In Areas With Traffic Density Less Than Stipulated Norms
TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Bangalore: Grade separators are definitely needed for a growing Bangalore. However, it’s not the number of underpasses, but rather their placement that’s the problem. At present, there are 28 major grade separators. These include 20 flyovers and eight major underpasses. But most of them are at the wrong place, explains traffic expert M N Sreehari. Interestingly, Sreehari is an ABIDe member.
Much of it was revealed in recent traffic surveys at different parts of the city. According to the Indian Road Congress’ (IRC) norms, there’s no need for grade separators unless traffic volume exceeds 9,000 pcu/hour. But observations prove otherwise. Many junctions with less than this density have them. This also includes Gandhi Bazaar, and grade separators have been planned in areas like National College Road, Ramakrishna Ashram, Tagore Circle and K R Road.
THE OBSERVATIONS At National College: The flyover here is four years old and cost Rs 15.75 crore. But the traffic density is only 2,750 pcu/hour on it. Ramakrishna Ashram junction: The BBMP proposed a three-tier flyover worth Rs 40 crore two years ago (underground at Bull Temple Road, on-ground for turning traffic, and flyover from Hanumanthnagar side). It was stopped last year for the traffic density was just 5,700 pcu/hr.
EXPERTSPEAK
According to Sreehari, the present traffic density at Tagore junction (5000-5,500 pcu/hour) does not need a grade separator. The main technical issue, he says, is covering the entire staggered junction with a concrete slab! “The road geometry doesn’t permit it. It’s only 15 m wide. It needs 30-32 m road width. This includes 15-m-wide underpass, including 2 m width on either sides for pedestrian traffic, two slip roads on either side (5.5m wide each) for turning traffic, and with another 2-m-wide footpaths on either side. Further, underpasses are not technically effective at staggered junctions,’’ he explained.
SOME SOLUTIONS
Widen roads as land is available.
Ease traffic at K R Road by creating an underpass on KR Road or a magic box on B P Wadia Road. A Rs 50 lakh magic box at these junctions is a better option than a Rs 20 crore underpass.
Signals can be installed at the junction for Rs 5-6 lakh. It will be manageable for another 10 years.

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