Caught between white-topping, Metro work chaos

BBMP Workers busy in resurfacing work on Sri Bala Gangadharanatha Swamiji Flyover Road (Srisi circle flyover) in Bengaluru on Thursday. Photo by S K Dinesh

In its desperation to find ways to address the severe road congestion in Bengaluru, the government has come up solutions such as elevated corridors, flyovers and Metro expansion. But poor planning during the construction period has caused a lot of hardships to citizens.

“The government had claimed that the Metro would alleviate the problem of traffic congestion on the streets as many people would shift to the new mode. Are we really better off since the Metro has been running in the city for so many years?” wonders Vinay G, an autorickshaw driver.

The controversial white-topping project has particularly put commuters in a fix. Says T Ashish, a multinational company employee, “This work is moving at a snail’s pace. The traffic on the service roads has only increased now, due to shortage of space on the main road.”

Ashish travels from Kadugodi to Electronics City daily. “Commuting during peak hours on this stretch is hell. Many of us are forced to take diversions repeatedly to avoid such traffic. But, we still end up spending a lot of additional time,” he elaborates.

Many other citizens and road users echo this view. “Parts of Hosur Road are being given a white topping. The traffic moves slowly for a considerable stretch starting from Adugodi to beyond Anepalya. As a result, at the Adugodi junction, many people prefer taking the route to Dairy Circle and then returning to Hosur Road,” says Mohammed, a cab driver.

The combination of white-topping and Metro pillar work has sparked huge congestion on Bannerghatta Road. As Mohammed points out, the road is slowly getting choked with traffic. “How do we save any time at all then?”

Sushma, who works at Manyata Tech Park, says she has to travel daily from Banaswadi. “The white-topping work was going on earlier from Nagawara Signal to Hennur Signal. Now, it is progressing towards Hebbal. The road is forever choked and difficult to use.”

Complains M K Kamath, a retired banker who lives in Horamavu: “There are huge cement pipes unloaded along the Thanisandra Main Road, extending up to almost Yelachenahalli. Nobody knows why the pipes are there. We are caught between white-topping and the pipes, forcing us to take diversions.”

The long delay in completion of projects has only made the commute struggle worse. “Work on a flyover, even for a very short stretch between RK Hegde Nagar entrance and Rashtrothana Vidya Kendra, went on for eight months. The authorities justified the mess stating that the school buses were blocking the path. We see no improvement after all the wait,” says Kamath.

White-topping is a sheer waste of taxpayers’ money, notes Ashish. “The BBMP spends crores of rupees on relaying perfectly good roads while areas desperate for roads are completely ignored. There are also enough cases of poor maintenance. There are roads that wait for years for asphalt. Barely weeks after the work, the road is dug up for drainage work,” he elaborates.

“We see too many cases of misplaced priority. This has been happening for so many years now, in spite of the people’s complaints on these lines. Citizens are not consulted at all before taking decisions in their areas,” he adds.

Commuters could be in for even bigger travel trouble if the government goes ahead with the controversial elevated corridor project. They fear the traffic police would find it extremely tough to manage the accompanying chaos. Besides the construction time woes, environmentalists have also drawn attention to the potential loss of thousands of trees.

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Caught between white-topping, Metro work chaos

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