BENGALURU: Two deaths on the same stretch of the Electronics City flyover in just five days. Both were due to stationary vehicles on a road where stopping is not allowed without indicator lights switched on. Both the accidents show not only the lack of awareness among motorists about driving basics but also the flawed designs of the flyovers.
In both the cases — on December 29 and on January 3 — with just two lanes, the Electronics City flyover cramped the space when a vehicle was forced to stop after running out of fuel. In both the cases, two software engineers, 29-year-old Vikas Kumar Goutam and 32-year-old Tejaswi Ponnapalli crashed into stationary vehicles and fell, only to be run over and killed by speeding vehicles from behind.
With the lack of space in the city limits, city flyovers are not only compromising the Indian Road Congress (IRC) standards, but also pushing safety norms to the back-burner, allowing the already deadly Bengaluru traffic to claim lives.
Potholes, damaged surfaces and unscientific humps make flyovers unsafe for motorists — especially for two-wheelers.
Traffic expert, Prof M N Sreehari says in most advanced countries, flyovers are not constructed within city limits.
Constructing flyovers in city limits is a traffic nuisance. “Flyovers within city limits come with limitations. As per IRC standards, specific width has to be allowed for construction of flyover for specific density of vehicular movement. With lack of land availability, the IRC standards are compromised,’’ he said.
He also pointed out that Bengaluru’s flyovers were noted for having speed humps and traffic signals, let alone potholes. “Flyovers are for free flow of traffic. With humps or barricades and potholes, the speed movement is restricted,’’ he said.
Civic evangelist V Ravichander said when they are constructing flyovers, the pedestrian pathway beneath flyover should be given priority, followed by motoring road beneath the flyover. The least of the priorities should be flyover lane.
Flyovers should be constructed on 18-m-width roads (below the flyover). So that more space is given to the pedestrians and road users beneath the flyover. The width of flyover lanes should be between 3 and 3.2m.
“I feel Bengaluru flyovers are more than 3.5m lane width. This also means giving more space to motorists will make them drive faster. Thus accidents happen. By reducing the width, accidents can be prevented,’’ he said.
BBMP authorities too feel space availability is a major challenge. “In a city like Bengaluru, getting space to construct flyovers is a hurdle. Utility shifting and traffic diversions make it more challenging for us to construct flyovers,’’ KT Nagaraj, BBMP Chief Engineer (Major roads ) said.
Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) authorities had told the High Court that IRC standards were not mandatory for construction of flyovers. It can be altered depending upon local requirement. Palike authorities had given clearance for 4.5 metre vertically below the proposed flyover at the Shivananda Circle junction, while for the road width at this juncture should be 5.5 metre, according to IRC. “There is railway underpass nearby. If we give more height, the landing will come up to railway underpass which is not advisable.
We have flexible provision in IRC,’’ said a BBMP official wanting to remain anonymous. Official sources also said the landing slope should be 3.5 per cent, but has provision to give up to 6.6 per cent. “If we give more per cent, that means landing will be steep which could be risky. Here motorist has to be slower,’’ sources said. However they have defended the parapet wall height. “We give 1.2 metre parapet wall height. But if the motorist comes at high speed, we are helpless,’’ an official said.