Minister KJ George wants to construct tunnel roads to reduce vehicular density.

Bengalurus next solution to traffic woes Underground tunnels in waterlogged areasWikimedia Commons/ Representation Photo
news Infrastructure Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 15:36

Bengalureans have heard of many proposals floated by the government to de-congest traffic - from widening of Jayamahal Road to the scrapped steel flyover project and the widening of the Hebbal flyover.

Now, Bengaluru Development Minister KJ George has come out with another plan to decongest the city’s everyday traffic problem.

He now wants to construct four tunnel roads to reduce vehicular density on Bengaluru roads.

KJ George has assigned the task of producing a feasibility report to a Bulgarian company for four tunnel roads including a 6-km tunnel from Hebbal to Chalukya Circle, one from Jalahalli to Goraguntepalya (1.4km), Nayandahalli to Majestic (8km) and the last one from SRS Road and Pipeline road to Peenya (2.25 km).

According to an official from the Urban Development Department, a group of experts from the Bulgarian company inspected the four areas where the tunnels are proposed and have decided to submit the feasibility report as well.

“The cost of the project is yet to be determined. The activists had opposed the steel flyover project because they felt there would be a huge loss of green cover. So, we have decided to build underground roads to help reduce traffic,” said Additional Chief Secretary Mahendra Jain of the UDD.

However, traffic experts feel that the tunnels would only contribute to increasing the vehicular density in the city.

“If the tunnels are built, then more vehicles will travel on them. Currently, an average of 1,680 vehicle ply on every road in Bengaluru in one hour. With these tunnels in place, it may reduce to 1,500 and not more than that. Instead of building roads, the urban planners must use these underground areas feasible for providing local train lines or metro lines. If new infrastructure is built for public transport only then the vehicle density will decrease as the mass transport connectivity would be better,” said MN Sreehari, traffic expert.

He also said that the four areas chosen for the tunnels are prone to waterlogging as they are low lying areas.

“These areas can get flooded easily and it would add to the maintenance cost and can also be dangerous for motorists. For three years, the government has not implemented any concrete plan for the betterment of the city’s traffic woes. With road construction, the profits are higher in terms of kickbacks. With this project, they are only trying to build up a portfolio to showcase the work the government has accomplished before the election,” he added.

This is not the first time tunnel roads have been proposed as a potential traffic decongestion idea. In 2015, KJ George himself had proposed a tunnel ring road along the peripheral ring road project, which cuts through Hosur Road, Sarjapur Road, Ballari Road, Doddaballapur Road and Tumakuru Road.

The feasibility report, which came back negative led to the project being scrapped.

In 2007, the Karnataka government led by HD Kumaraswamy had proposed to build a 7.1-km tunnel between Minsk Square and Sankey Road. This project had also been scrapped.

“Now they want to build tunnel roads, which will be congested in the future. The idea is not sustainable as adding more roads will only increase the number of private cars. How many tunnel roads will they build every year?” Sreehari questioned.


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