Chaos reigns supreme on north-west fringe

Two km in two hours

Chaos reigns supreme on north-west fringe

A two-kilometre stretch of National Highway-4 between Peenya intersection and Yeshwanthpur flyover just outside Bangalore, is strangled daily by traffic that has already eroded the City’s image.

On that stretch of NH-4, the anything-goes chaos takes as much as two hours to overcome, leaving behind thicker and more perilous traffic.

The perpetually decrepit infrastructure, a result of Namma Metro’s construction activities, adds to the daily congestion which is a daunting task for drivers trying to leave the city to head to Nelamangala, Tumkur, Hassan and further north or those trying to enter the metropolis.

The on-going work on Metro Rail’s Reach II and a portion of a flyover which is ready but not open to vehicular movement are two primary reasons for a four-lane road to have narrowed to a single lane from Gorguntepalya, through a part of the city, to Yeshwanthpur.

Patience wears thin

While these factors reduce traffic to a crawl, drivers’ patience wears thin and desperation grows, leading to a clangorous clamour and honking of horns, not to speak of the noxious smoke spewing out of vehicles’ exhausts.

To add to the snarl are BMTC buses that enter the space meant for KSRTC buses and two-wheelers that sneak into the snaking lines of vehicles. The gridlock caused by the buses cause delays and frayed nerves, not just of their drivers but also their bosses.

“We shout at other drivers and our officers yell at us when we fail to maintain time. We are required to reach the central bus terminus at 6 pm since onward journey to destinations is scheduled two hours later. But we invariably miss the deadline,” said KSRTC bus driver Ramanagouda Patil, who plies the Haveri-Bangalore route daily.

The 30-odd traffic policemen stand helpless, watching the chaos unfold before across the stretch which has three signals whose lights are of no consequence.  Their shouting and screaming to maintain order go in vain as pedestrians dodge traffic while crossing the road.

A number of road users attribute the snarls to a lack of coordination between the traffic police, road transport and Metro authorities. These departments fail to work in tandem and have no clue of the traffic patterns on the problem stretch. According to some road users, the BMRCL should have taken up work once the flyover became fully operational and the trafficcops should minimise the entry of certain vehicles by identifying alternative routes.

As the traffic leaves chaos in its wake, road users, especially pedestrians, bemoan that their lives are at risk. “What with BMRCL labourers moving cranes and lifting other heavy material, our lives are always at risk,” said a pedestrian, pointing to a narrow gap between vehicles and the concrete barriers.

Senior traffic department officers throw up their arms in exasperation. “Nearly 2,000 vehicles get caught up in the jams near Gorguntepalya. And where are the alternative roads?” asks Traffic and Security Additional Commissioner Praveen Sood.

According to Sood, the unending traffic snarls are not caused because there is a coordination problem. He said his department routinely provides safety suggestions to BMRCL. Often, traffic constables on duty divert traffic towards Vijayanagar and Kamkshipalya at CMTI near the Ring Road.

Claiming that creating more traffic signal junctions and deploying additional policemen will not solve the problem, Sood said chaos was the result of lack of space. On its part, BMRCL claims that it has taken all measures on the Peenya Cross-Yeshwanthpur flyover stretch. “Metro Rail work on the stretch, which began in January 2010, is expected to be completed by December 2011, and till such time all safety measures will remain in operation,” Metro chief public relations officer B L Y Chavan said.

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