BBMP is blaming cylinder trucks for the missing and damaged cobblestones that dot the crowded street.

Bengaluru's Church Street with cobblestones coming loose
news Infrastructure Friday, May 27, 2022 - 12:39

On May 27 morning, BBMP workers were busy repairing the swanky Church Street in the heart of the Central Business District as around two dozen cobblestones had come undone, mainly on two portions of the road. The road was opened in March 2018 when Siddaramaiah was the Chief Minister and was touted to be equivalent to Singapore’s Orchard Street. But four years later, cobblestones are already coming out loose, even though the city was under lockdown for a significant period during this time. The 750-metre road was built on a budget of Rs 17 crore under the TenderSure project.

BBMP Chief Engineer (Projects) Lokesh Mahadevaiah agreed that around two dozen cobblestones had come undone. “We have started work on repairing that stretch of the road from yesterday (May 26) night and we will complete it soon. Once it is repaired, we do not expect any problems in the monsoon season,” he said. He attributed the problem to the heavy vehicles that traverse the road. “There are numerous restaurants on that road and the number of vehicles that come to drop cylinders are numerous. When the cylinders are unloaded to the restaurant and the empty ones are put back on the vehicles, they tend to drop the cylinders and drag them on the road. This is damaging the cobblestones.” 

“The passenger vehicles are not causing the problem,” he pointed out. Even considering a proposal for stopping vehicular movement on Church Street would not be possible as there would be a lot of opposition to it from local residents and businesses, Lokesh said.

An earlier proposal of the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) to turn the road into a pedestrian-only zone was fiercely opposed by the residents of Church Street and adjoining streets, and the proposal was dropped. The problem of missing or damaged cobblestones has continued to hound Church Street from the time it was opened to the public, and all BBMP has done is replace the stones, in the absence of any long term plan to prevent damage.

Church Street is dotted with commercial establishments on either side including restaurants, clothing stores, book stores, banks etc. Nagesh Aras, an urban activist, told the Times of India that it was a poorly thought out idea to replicate the granite cobble stone model that is seen in other countries on a road that is frequented by vehicles.

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