BANNERGHATTA ROAD : Dreams of travelling in a comfortable Metro coach remain distant for residents of Bannerghatta Road. What they talk about is the urgent threat of this busy road turning into a bigger nightmare once work begins on Phase II of Namma Metro.
After a controversy over the building of a station at Jayadeva Hospital played out last year, people living along the arterial road fear they will be severely affected by Metro work as soon as it begins in 2015. The 21.25 km Gottigere-Nagawara line will have four stations, in addition to one at Gottigere. These are Hulimavu, IIM-B, JP Nagar 4th Phase and the Jayadeva Interchange.
The work, for which the process of acquisition is already underway, is expected to create choke points near Arakere Gate, IIM-Bangalore, Vijaya Bank Colony as well as Meenakshi Mall junction. After the Jayadeva flyover, the plan is to take the Metro underground as the road gets narrower towards MG Road.
There were also plans to build a mid-air interchange station at Jayadeva Circle to avoid cutting into the hospital. However, there is no confirmation if the plan has been accepted. Metro officials City Express tried were unavailable for comment.
"There is very little being done to regulate traffic. The footpaths are dangerous to walk on as scooterists and motorcyclists ride on it. When the work begins, it will be really bad. I just hope residents of this area do not have to go through what residents of Mysore Road did,” said Alok Mahanta, a resident of Vijaya Bank Colony.
Last year, a group went with some experts and met the Managing Director of the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) to highlight problems they anticipate once work begins. They had also requested the BMRCL to consider building footpaths and foot overpasses for the stations before other things. While the BMRCL had agreed to look into those proposals then, no decisions to allay citizens's fears have been announced yet.
“Currently, the peak hour vehicular traffic is far more than the capacity of the road. If the Metro wants to build its infrastructure on Bannerghatta Road, they will have to come up with a solution for accommodating all this traffic or build the Metro pillar by pillar. There is no way they can barricade entire sections of the road for their work,” said a senior police official.
A similar situation had occurred on Mysuru Road where the work was carried out in stretches, however, with no alternative routes for Bannerghatta Road, this option will be strongly opposed by the traffic police.
Other people however are looking forward to using the Metro once it is constructed. “I have used the Byappanahalli-MG Road line a few times and found it the best way to commute. I only hope that the Metro station at Hulimavu becomes functional soon as I can travel to the city easily without worrying about traffic,” says Raghavendra M, a software professional who stays near Hulimavu Gate.
However, with several delays in Phase I of the project, it is not a dream that will come true soon.
“The Metro will take at least a few more years to come here. Till then, we will have to suffer bad roads. There are several issues already with Bannerghatta Road and the Metro work will just add to it,” said Shivamurthy, a shop owner in Gottigere.
Officials of the Hulimavu traffic police station also said road-widening projects were urgently required to deal with the vehicular load.
In July this year, the government decided to build a flyover and widen the existing road by spending `1,100 crore.
The plan, which is currently in the project report preparation phase, might well kick in side-by-side with the Metro Phase II which will undoubtedly lead to more jams.
With the government planning to make the road a signal-free corridor, however, there is light at the end of the tunnel. But then, let’s not daydream!