Everything you need to know about the Elevated Corridor

Last Updated 04 August 2018, 07:03 IST

Bangalore, 2006: The then HD Kumaraswamy-led Karnataka government suggested a plan to build a 90-kilometre long elevated roadway, connecting all the ends of the city with the aim to decongest Bengaluru's increasingly choked roads.

For 12 years, the governments that came to the state promised the corridor, all for increasing costs as time passed, but the corridor never came to pass.

Now, in 2018, after a tumultuous election and a lot of flipped cards, HD Kumaraswamy ascended to the throne of Chief Minister of Karnataka, and in the July budget, announced the resurrection of the elevated corridor project.

The corridor, mooted at a budget of a mammoth - but still cheaper than Siddaramaiah's - 15,825 crores, came at a cost: The KRDCL - the agency in charge of the ambitious project - says the city's residents can save nearly 10,000 crores annually by clearing congestion. The already crippling green cover of the city will go even lower with 3,600 trees making way for the corridor.

This came amidst a rising opposition among Bengalureans to the elevated corridor, with Citizens for Bengaluru leading the charge with the #ElevatedCorridorBeda (Don't want the elevated corridor) campaign.

CfB's Srinivas Alavilli had this to say about the campaign: "Since ordinary citizens are not called and no public consultation ever took place, we wanted to make our voice heard by the chief minister through social media. Elevated corridor is a terrible idea and not the right solution for Bengaluru. We must focus on the suburban train, bus, bicycles, and footpath without any other distractions”.

Shortly after criticism mounted over the corridor, the state government decided to 'integrate' the roadway with the Metro infrastructure of the city, which would make it more than just a very long flyover project. Additionally, the government decided to bring in the IISc's experts to ensure that "environmental concerns are not raised".

Facing the rising opposition to the corridor project, CM Kumaraswamy said the government envisioned the elevated corridor project to ease the congestion in the city, but if the people have "come to accept" the traffic snarls as a way of life, the government will shelve it.

No matter the government's stance on the matter, citizens and activists based out of Bengaluru remained adamant against the elevated corridor. They have raised questions about the timing of the project announcement, what with the Lok Sabha elections nearing.

Additionally, experts pointed out the irony in the government expressing the desire to go ahead with the project. Dr Ashish Verma of the Civil Engineering Department of the IISc says: "By constructing flyovers, we are encouraging people to use personal vehicles. The city of London is planning to have about 80% of modal share through public transport comprising walking, cycling, etc. But nobody knows why our city is thinking the other way round".

However, some urban activists did support the project like RK Mishra and Nitin Sheshadri, for instance, the latter of whom had this to say: "Several academic studies have confirmed that elevated motorway reduces pollutant concentrations at ground level. In fact, pollution as a result of an elevated flyover is mitigated by two factors: the source of pollution is at a higher level than the pedestrians, and idling vehicle engines during jams is arguably the worst form of pollution".

The government is currently engaging in attempts to rope in independent experts and consultants to undertake environmental studies in hopes of convincing Bengalureans of the merits of the project, all the while taking slow steps to prevent the project going the way of the steel flyover.

(Published 03 August 2018, 11:04 IST)

Follow us on