Sunday, April 27, 2008

Flyover delay strains public

Flyover delay strains public
Rail-road intersections have always been problematic in Bangalore City.

The explosive growth of vehicular population, combined with chaotic traffic discipline has only worsened the scenario. This is an attempt to zoom in on the problems faced daily by motorists at the cross roads and highlight the grey areas of co-operation between the railways and civic authorities.

It has been over a fortnight since construction work was stalled for the planned flyover from Gymkhana Grounds to ITC Factory due to the escalating steel prices and the refusal of the contractor to carry out work unless compensated for the rising costs. The stoppage has aggravated the residents of Cox Town and surrounding areas, who were already suffering much hardship the past one-and-a-half years due to the construction work and its slow progress.

Work on the flyover which began by July 2006 was supposed to be completed by December 2007. Authorities now specifiy September 2008 as the new completion deadline. However, only 60% of the work has been completed so far and residents feel the work is likely to exceed this deadline also by six months. With the road around the Cox Town railway track dug up all around, it is impossible for vehicle riders to use the stretch to cross over from Wheeler Road to Banaswadi Main Road. Pedestrians cross the stretch with great difficulty, some carry cycles on hand. “This stretch was used by people who wanted to reach Sevanagar, Kalyan Nagar, Horamavu, K R Puram and other areas,” says Nagaraj, an electrical engineer.

In place of the 50-metre stretch that connected these two roads, the public now traverse nearly one-and-a-half km by touching the ITC and then taking a turn. “This has been going on for nearly two years posing tremendous problems for both pedestrians and vehicle riders,” said A J Padmanabhan, General Secretary of Cox Town Citizens Forum. “We have regularly put pressure on the authorities to complete it,” he added. With vehicle riders using the narrow overbridge at Fraser Town now, traffic jams during peak hours have become commonplace there now.

Basavaraj, employed here, is witness to numerous accidents that take place along the railway track as there is no warning about any approaching train now. With two government schools located at Cox Town Cirlce, students from Jai Bharat Nagar, Bharati Seva Nagar and Jeevanahalli use this dangerous railway track to reach school quickly, said a resident Kalidas.A top railway official conceded that increasing steel prices were putting pressure on the contractors and was delaying the construction. However, he assured that work would be resumed soon and the flyover would be completed before the new deadline.

By S Lalitha

The Bypanahalli Rail Road Crossing which is a double railway crossing, is a scene of utter chaos during peak hours. People commuting to Sevanagar, Old Madras Road, and Jeevanahalli use this crossing, which doesn’t have a traffic police to man the traffic a lot of the times.

The Gatekeeper of LC Gate no 136 B (Bypanahalli Crossing) K Palani said that the gates come down around 50 times a day for about five to ten minutes. When the gates are shut, many of the two-wheeler riders are seen crossing the gates, ducking under it, which is dangerous, he added. After the gates are open, there is no order, as traffic from both sides try to get through the narrow gates on either side, often making the crossing a nightmare. Just when this reporter visited Bypanahalli crossing, an auto driver who tried to man the traffic due to a jam was beaten up by a cab driver.


There are no dividers at the crossing, so the traffic comes haphazardly from both sides, making it very difficult to cross often resulting in a traffic jam as soon as the gates are open. It takes 10 minutes just to get across from one gate to another.

Ashwith Karuvane,
Marketing Manager, Just Dial

I have been using this crossing for 20 years now, and the traffic has swelled recently after the road from the Banaswadi Flyover to the cross has been repaired. It sometimes takes me as long at 20-25 minutes to get across as the traffic jams are bad during peak hours.

Balakshah, works with a car rental company

I use this route after the the work on the Wheeler Road flyover started like most people have. The volume of traffic has increased by 30 to 40 per cent since then. Most times there is no traffic police at this crossing which creates a lot of chaos.

Mohammed Faheem,
Assitant Manager at a domestic call centre

Sections of misery

Do railway crossings in the City, whether manned or unmanned contribute and add to traffic chaos and increase the burgeoning vehicle pile-up. Does it require an continous effort and interaction between the railway authorities and the traffic police.

To answer this question, Prof M N Sreehari, traffic expert and chairman of TEST (Traffic Engineers and Safety Trainers) speaking to Deccan Herald suggests possible measures that could be taken to address this issue.
“The railway crossings which exist within the urban limits will cause untold misery to road users apart from their safety.

Though most of the gates within the city are manned, the total time lost at the gate results in huge economic loss & running into several crores annually in terms of fuel and man hours.

It is viable to construct ROB & RUB's which can be justified by benefit cost ratio or internal rate of return (IRR) method of economic analysis.

These structures enhance safety as well as cutting down the delays.

Road users rage, impatience & blocking the opposite traffic lane when once the gate is opened, rushing from all corners are a common sight near level crossings which will have to be addressed by every individual road user.
Pedestrians using mobile phone while crossing the unmanned railway line is also on the rise which cause more concern to safety. It is a common sight that two wheelers bending themselves along with the vehicle cross the closed the closed gate as they do not have patience to wait. A case was reported 4 yrs back when a lady talking over a mobile phone got killed at the unmanned level crossing.

For wide roads with more than 4 lanes, it is difficult to provide a lengthy boom gate/arm as it is difficult to operate. Hence these locations are generally narrow and create bottleneck for traffic as vehicles from either direction creating traffic jams even after the train pass through the section. The best solution being to construct grade separators and the cost will have to be borne by the local authorities and technically approved by the railways.

In rural areas, the scenario shifts to bullock carts, animals and pedestrians crossing particularly during night end up with fatal accidents. In case of train accidents, the responsibility is always on the road user and legally the train driver is not liable. Hence it is desirable to separate the road & railway facility by RUB/ROB with wide openings for road vehicles.

Road users should have patience and must not charge emotionally and cross the track carelessly, endangering their own lives”

As told to S Praveen Dhaneshkar


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