After wasting months on renovation, Bengaluru Commercial Street now being whitetopped

Officials have said “too much movement” of vehicles has led to wear and tear on Commercial Street, which saw a big Rs 5.5 crore makeover just months ago.
Whitetopping work being done on Commercial Street in Bengaluru
Whitetopping work being done on Commercial Street in Bengaluru

After spending over Rs 5.5 crore on a months-long makeover of Bengaluru’s Commercial Street, the popular shopping street is undergoing renovations, again. This time, the road is being whitetopped. Whitetopping is a process where the normal black-top roads or the bitumen asphalted roads are cleared and the roads are given a layer of concrete on top. The concrete used is considered more long-lasting and is believed to prevent the formation of potholes. However, this work is more expensive than normal road-laying work. 

Commercial Street is a popular shopping destination in Bengaluru and sees large crowds on the weekend as people from across the city visit the area for their shopping needs. Just five months ago, the newly-revamped street was inaugurated with much fanfare. The project to beautify Commercial Street and to make it more pedestrian-friendly was taken up under the Bengaluru Smart City Project.

However, in November, just weeks after a complete revamp of the street located in central Bengaluru’s Shivajinagar, pictures emerged of waterlogging on the street after rains, and parts of the newly-laid footpath ripped out. The reason for removing the footpath was that the colour of the cobblestones on the footpath of the street was fading. Karnataka Revenue Minister R Ashoka had earlier said that he had received a lot of complaints about the cobblestones, and had asked the contractor to change them. 

“The road sees a lot of vehicles moving, stopping and moving again. Because of the vehicle tyres, there is wear and tear on the roads. The issue was not with cobblestones, they were of good quality, it was just that their colour had faded because of continuous movement. So Smart City started replacing the cobblestones,” says Vinayak Sugur, Chief Engineer of the Bengaluru Smart City Project. 

“Then somebody suggested stone cobblestones. But they are also prone to coming out after one or two years after the load of the vehicles. When a vehicle moves, the tyres rub against the cobblestones, and they may not be that resistant and may end up coming out. So considering all that, after expert advice, we decided that the concrete pavement is best for a long-lasting street and free of maintenance and ugliness after stones come out. So we are considering whitetopping,” Sugur told TNM. 

This will be the third time that renovation work will be carried out on Commercial Street. It was officially inaugurated in July 2021 by the then Chief Minister, BS Yediyurappa, but the street’s makeover has turned out to be a series of blunders.

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