Six-lane highway will choke Bengaluru, Mysuru

Traffic congestion, like this one on Mysuru Road in Bengaluru, could become the order of the day in both the cities once the highway is six-laned as more people opt for private vehicles. DH FILE PHOTO

The proposed six-lane highway connecting Bengaluru and Mysuru will choke both the cities in the future. The increased carriageway will add more vehicles unless the system supports high capacity transport arrangements like a High Speed Rail (HSR) or a Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS), Ashish Verma, an expert at the IISc warned.

The Rs 7,000 crore project envisions a six-lane, 117 km-long highway, which includes elevated corridors of about 8 km, and several bridges. Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari announced on Friday that the work on the 'economic corridor' will start from January.

Verma, Associate Professor of Transport Systems Engineering at the IISc, said though the widened road will help faster mobility between the cities in the beginning, the space will saturate as the vehicle numbers go up.

Besides, it is also important to analyse whether the roads within Bengaluru and Mysuru have the capacity to handle the high amount of traffic that the widened roads will bring.

“Sustainable urban growth is possible when such capital intensive projects incorporate high capacity systems. Dedicated lanes to support BRTS should be planned. This will ensure that people will eventually shift to public transport. As land acquisition is a major headache, a small patch along the corridor could have been reserved for HSR,” Verma said.

The Railway Board is considering a feasibility report for HSR corridor between Chennai and Mysuru via Bengaluru. The proposed HSR is expected to reduce by half the travel duration between Bengaluru and Chennai from five hours to 2 hours and 20 minutes. The Bengaluru-Mysuru commute would come down to less than an hour.

Reduce pressure on Bengaluru

Verma noted that the BRTS and HSR have the capacity to reduce pressure on Bengaluru, which is struggling to support increasing number of industries with limited infrastructure and resources.

The high capacity systems that offer reliability will distribute growth to different cities and reduce the burden on Bengaluru. “Alleviating excessively high urban concentration requires investments in inter-regional transport and telecommunications to facilitate deflection of economic activities from megacities,” Verma said in a recent paper.

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