BENGALURU: The elevated corridor project has been highly debated; citizen groups have been strictly opposed to the Rs 33,000 crore project, citing mass tree cutting and failure to consult the public before taking up a project of such scale. IISC professor Ashish Verma and members of Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB) have asked for a metro project instead, since it may reduce pollution levels as well.
City Express, however, was directed to the Indian Roads Congress (IRC), by the Karnataka Road Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL), in order to understand why the project may be beneficial in curbing traffic. The IRC responded to the concerns mentioned in Verma’s study ‘Sustainability Analysis of the Proposed Elevated Road Corridor in Bengaluru city.’
Verma’s study highlights the demerits of the proposed elevated road corridor in respect of increased traffic congestion, vehicle kilometres travelled (VKT) and emissions. In response, RK Jaigopal, IRC apex committee member, said the demerits were unfounded as the introduction of the proposed corridor will bring down the congestion factor to almost nil.
“Thereby, there will be total reduction in pollution levels too, which is on the rise due to congestion at traffic junctions and in high-density traffic corridors, specifically in CBD (Central Business District) areas, where presently traffic moves around 10 kilometre per hour (KMPH). Besides, an elevated corridor is for all categories of vehicles, in addition to commerce. Whatever projections are done by KRDCL up to 2030 regard that all aspects are in order,” added Jaigopal.
He also explained that if additional lanes are not created above, below or at-grade to selected arterial and sub-arterial roads, vehicular speed is expected to come down to five KMPH from the present eight to 10 KMPH. Verma’s statement expressed concern about the corridor attracting traffic from all directions, reducing the level of congestion on connecting roads and increasing congestion on the corridor.
Jaigopal, IRC apex committee member said: “Certainly congestion will be reduced on all connecting roads to the elevated corridor. But the corridor cannot get congested as it is newly introduced only to de-congest at-grade traffic. The statement is uncalled for.”
Verma also pointed out that the corridor “will create 53 new traffic bottlenecks as it will only transfer congestion from one part of the city to another”. Jaigopal, however, explained that with the introduction of the elevated corridor, wherever entry points exist, all at-grade roads will get de-congested. This would mean zero congestion on these roads and zero-congestion at exits too since the elevated corridor is “two-way” corridor with 4/6 lane divided carriageways sucking traffic in the reverse direction too.
Urban expert RK Mishra agreed, adding that a metro project alone cannot solve the city’s traffic. “There will be people who cannot commute by metro and they will use private vehicles,” he said. An elevated corridor project, on the other hand, can help promote public transport by providing a lane specifically for BMTC buses to move faster than private vehicles.