The elevated corridor project will likely prove to be a big mistake by 2025 when vehicle growth overshoots road capacity, IISc experts have warned and suggested that the government invest in sustainable systems like the metro.
Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, who announced the Rs 15,825-crore project, has already earmarked Rs 1,000 crore for it in the current financial year.
But the combined capacity of existing roads and the elevated corridor — even if it’s a six-lane road — will prove to be insufficient within five years from 2020 when the project is expected to be completed, according to a two-member team led by Professor Ashish Verma from Transport Systems Engineering cell of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc). The team calculated the capacity of each of the six-interconnected elevated roads.
The traffic growth has been estimated on three different scales: conservative (6.67% annual growth), realistic (10% average growth in the registration of vehicles) and coarse-grained approach based on realistic assumptions. The project fails to fulfil the objective of easy traffic movement at all the three levels.
The government and proponents of the elevated corridor have cited the Rs 8,937-crore loss caused by traffic congestion in travel time and fuel waste. But even a conservative growth of traffic (6.67%), the new infrastructure will bring the city back to square one by 2025.
The report takes into consideration the potential capacity of both four- and six-lane roads of the elevated project, which has the unrealistic deadline of 2020. By that time, the growth in vehicle population will be even with the carrying capacity of the road. By 2025, whether the project is completed or not, there will be traffic jams on the elevated corridor similar to the ones on the existing KR Puram bridge.
What’s the alternative?
The researchers propose a hypothetical scenario of a metro rail system in both the directions that shows the infrastructure will not reach saturation until 2060. The longevity of the metro is extended beyond 2070 if officials build a double line metro (two tracks in each direction).
The report poses a question to the authorities on the sustainability of the elevated project and whether it is worth it considering its failure to meet the demand even up to 2025.