Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The torturous road to frustration

The torturous road to frustration

Anil Kumar Sastry
The slow pace of projects cost road users time, money and livelihoods

BANGALORE: That our city has some of the worst roads amongst the country’s metros is a given fact. And for some years now, Bangaloreans have been suffering the birth pangs of the city’s as yet biggest infrastructure projects, Namma Metro, the elevated expressway on Hosur Road and the elevated road on Tumkur Road.

While the Namma Metro, being executed by the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd., (BMRCL) at a revised cost of over Rs. 6,000 crore promises to alleviate city commuting woes, Bangaloreans can count themselves blessed if indeed the project gets completed by 2012 as promised given the slow pace of work. The delay has seriously impacted not only our roads and traffic movement but also lives and livelihoods.

At a snail’s pace
If one wants to see the impact of mega projects on the citizenry, an excursion to the Chinmaya Mission Hospital (CMH) Road in Indiranagar is useful. Though all legal hurdles had been cleared, Namma Metro work moves at a snail’s pace, even scores of businessmen are faced with ruin, their livelihoods all but destroyed. The road, which has remained almost non-motorable for over two years, is excavated and barricaded, enough to daunt the most resolute shopper.

Close by, the Old Madras Road between its junction with CMH Road and the Vivekananda Ashram, is crumbling not only near the Namma Metro works but also well beyond, slowing down traffic. “Earlier I used to take only 20 minutes to reach my workplace,” says Muralidhar K. “Now it often takes me an hour, half of which is spent negotiating Old Madras Road.” Curiously, on Mahatma Gandhi Road, which has a high profile, BMRCL authorities appear to have ensured minimum damage on the road surface.

Traffic nightmare
If these are the Namma Metro’s impact on Reach I of Phase I, the stretch of the two-lane Chord Road between Magadi Road Toll Gate and Attiguppe Circle has become a traffic nightmare though the road surface appears to have suffered minimum damage.

Not so the case of the Krishna Rajendra Road between Prof. Shivashankar Circle and National College Circle, Vani Vilas Road between National College Circle and Lal Bagh West Gate and Rashtreeya Vidyalaya Road between Lal Bagh West Gate and Nanda Theatre, all of which are in bad shape. These roads were in decent shape before Namma Metro work started.

On the other hand, Namma Metro’s work on Chord Road and West of Chord Road has been throwing traffic out of gear as the road’s width has been halved.

The stretch of Tumkur Road near Yeshwanthpur Railway Station is now a bottleneck and vehicles entering the city take at least 30 minutes to get past it.

The traffic chaos on Hosur Road may ease as the NHAI’s elevated expressway project is nearing completion. But the bedlam on the busy Tumkur Road show no signs of abating as the NHAI appears in no mood to speed up the work on road widening and getting on with the elevated road.

Traffic bottlenecks continue to inconvenience commuters in J.P. Nagar and Kadirenahalli on the Outer Ring Road owing to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s inordinate delay in completing the grade separator works and the Bangalore Development Authority’s dragging its feet on the flyover for the outer ring road at the Magadi Road-Kottigepalya Junction.

Traffic nightmares have just begun for those using the ORR between Silk Board Junction and Hebbal as the BDA has just begun work on several grade separators/ flyovers in this stretch.


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