In state first, a tusker 'flyover' on NH 209

first in state

The forest department has found a solution to a jumbo problem on the Bengaluru-Kollegal highway.

The department will now build an overpass exclusively for wildlife crossing on the main road at Uttarahalli-Manavarthe Kaval so that elephant movement remains unaffected by the proposed move to widen the highway. 

The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has proposed to upgrade the existing NH 209 to two-lane with paved shoulders and four lanes at some stretches. Accordingly, the 131-km project seeks to add two more lanes on the 38-km stretch that passes through the UM Kaval area.

However, during a recent meeting to clear the proposal, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Sanjai Mohan told NHAI officials that though the proposed project does not pass through a recognised elephant corridor, an overpass is a must for elephants which have been using the stretch to move from Bannerghatta National Park to Savandurga reserved forest.

Wildlife overpasses are typically wider section of cross-over bridges which will be a rough grassland similar to the elephants’ habitat. When asked whether the pachyderms would be able to find it easily, Mohan agreed that it will be difficult in the initial days.

“We will put barricades along the road in the area, which will guide the wildlife towards the overpass. It will take some time for them to adjust to the new route. The concept has been implemented in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh already about five years ago,” he said.

He said the overpass may not be the best solution but it is a necessity in areas where roads are widened. “Earlier, we did not insist on it. Now, it is a crucial part of our efforts,” he said.

NHAI General Manager (Technical) B T Sridhar said the overpass will be constructed after obtaining the next stage of approvals from forest officials.

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