The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) will come up with a mega project worth Rs 900 crore to decongest one of the major traffic bottlenecks in the city – Central Silk Board. BMRCL will implement the project with financial assistance from other agencies such as Bangalore Development Authority (BDA). On Thursday, BMRCL displayed a model project which includes an interchange metro station and road-cum-rail flyover between Ragigudda and Central Silk Board, with access points towards Electronics City and KR Puram.
Bengaluru development minister KJ George said, “The project will help in decongesting the bottleneck and motorists will have eight lanes which include four existing surface roads. The people would also shift to Metro once the project gets implemented.” Under phase II, BMRCL has a proposal to construct metro alignment from RV road metro station to Bommasandra and in Phase II (A), Metro will be constructed between Silk Board and KR Puram.
As there is a requirement of building a Metro intersection station at Silk Board, BMRCL had to come out with a project which would decongest the area, bring down the number of signals and ensure integration of the metro intersection.
BMRCL will build a road-cum-rail flyover from Ragigudda station to Central Silk Board with a length of 3.271 km. The elevated road will built 8 meters above the existing road level and the metro line will be 16 meters above the surface. This is the first Metro project where Metro will run above a flyover. A total of four lanes of elevated road and four lanes of surface road will be available with ramps for entry and exit from different directions.
At present, the surface road has a width of 7.50 to 9 meters in each direction. BMRCL has already issued a tender to build the road-cum-rail flyover and Phase II A (Silk Board to KR Puram) DPR will be sent to the state government for approval. BMRCL claims once the state government gives its approval, it would take 36 months to implement the project. Kharola said, “Our officials prepared the road-cum-flyover plan between Ragigudda and Silk Board. The move of building the road-cum-rail flyover will decongest the existing road and signal-free access will be provided.
A long hardship
While the proposed projects look very fancy, motorists at Central Silk Board will have to face hardship for several years during implementation of the project. It is said that BMRCL would take 3 to 4 years to complete the line between RV Road and Bommasandra. BMRCL also has a major task of removing the existing flyover near Jayadeva hospital and build the road-cum-rail flyover. BMRCL is yet to issue tenders for Phase II (Silk Board to KR Puram). It is not known how long it will take to issue the tender. Moreover, widening of the existing road and a proper plan to divert traffic would be crucial in the smooth implementation of the project. When asked about timelines, the minister said, “All the agencies will be working on decongesting the area and there will be hardships. However, it will be minimized as much as possible.”
To carry out the Phase II works, BMRCL is borrowing heavily from foreign agencies. The project to build metro networks on 72 kilometers would cost Rs 26,000 crore. In addition to the financial allocation from the Central and state governments, BMRCL is also borrowing from foreign agencies like Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, European Investment Bank and Agence Francaise Development (AFD). BMRCL claims that EIB and AFD have given in- principle approval to provide Rs 7,200 crore. The minister said, “There is a need to build more metro networks in the coming years. The metro is also becoming financially viable as more people are using it. At present, 2 lakh people are travelling on it everyday and the number will increase to 5 lakh once the entire Phase I becomes operational. BMRCL has already reached break-even point.”
Intersection at Silk Board
BMRCL plans to build the RV Road and Bommasandra line station on the southern side of the road and another station for Silk Board and KR Puram line (under Phase II A ) on the northern side. Both stations will be interchange stations which will facilitate passengers to commute to Hosur Road, Electronic City, HSR Layout, Sarjapura, Marathahalli and others destinations on both lines. In addition, people could also move towards Jayadeva Interchange station, Majestic interchange, MG Road interchange among others. Both the stations at Central Silk Board will have a common concourse of 4000 square meters.
Have you done environmental impact study?
While officials were briefing the media about the proposed project, the minister smilingly questioned as to whether BMRCL had done an environmental impact study and how many trees would be cut. It was obvious that the minister was being sarcastic in an alleged reference to the steel flyover project between Basaveshwara Circle and Esteem Mall, which has been embroiled in controversies from the very start. Kharola, however, replied, “This alignment goes on the median of the road and only a few trees will be removed.” Later in his comment on the steel flyover, the minister said, “The matter is before the NGT and there will be a hearing on January 18. We will go by the directions of the NGT. As of now, the tribunal has given permission to carry out survey and soil testing, which are under progress.”
One of the seven worst traffic Routes
According to a real time travel statistics report by Ola, Central Silk Board junction is considered as one of the seven worst traffic junctions in India. Taking into consideration India’s busiest metros – Bangalore, Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Pune and Chennai, it was found that urban India travels at an average speed of 22.7 km/hr. Further, taking lowest speeds recorded and highest time spent, Ola has identified traffic bottlenecks in various cities. These bottlenecks indicate busiest routes and junctions across cities where, due to their location as central commercial areas, traffic is high and chaotic. These areas include Silk Board Junction in Bengaluru, ITO crossing in Delhi and Kalanagar Junction in Mumbai, all prime locations for daily commuters.
SUFFERERS SPEAK OUT
The distance from my house to Jayadeva hospital is six to seven kilometers which I cover in 15 minutes on my two-wheeler. But the distance from Jayadeva to Silk board junction, which is just about two kilometers takes 30 minutes and that too on a bike. I try using the parallel roads to reach Silk Board but they are under construction most of the time for which I have to come back to the main road. If they want to build a flyover, they should straightaway connect it to the Jayadeva flyover so that it becomes even smoother for commuters to cross Silk Board.”
— Ravi Kumar P, software engineer
I travel from HSR Layout to Jayanagar every day and hence have to cross the Silk Board junction. The experience is horrible as I spend 20 minutes at every signal from Silk board to Jayadeva. I travel by car, which makes it no better than a bus as the vehicles hardly move. It is nightmarish during peak hours and I wish something is done at some point in time to reduce the traffic at Silk board. I think there has to be a down-track that leads to any parallel road which would make things a lot better.”
— Zahid Javali, journalist
Whenever I cross the Silk Board junction, I can feel my life coming to a standstill. Ever since I have come to Bengaluru, I have spent more time crossing the junction than attending class. I travel to Marathahalli from BTM Layout often, and that is when I face this traffic. I take the public bus which takes eternity to cross the junction and never have I been able to reach my location on time because the worst thing about Silk Board junction is that you can’t predict how long you have to wait. It’s never just 30 minutes, it can be more than that but certainly not less.”
— Tirtha Singha, student
The traffic at Silk Board junction is really famous in Bengaluru. I travel from Peenya to Jayadeva every day and spend around half an hour waiting at Central Silk Board junction. There are a few restaurants around the junction and the traffic seems to get stuck there for eternity. Although it has become an everyday affair for me, yet it is annoying to wait at a particular traffic signal for around 30 minutes or more.”
— Prashanth, techie
Credits Bangalore Mirror