The Rs 1,350 crore steel flyover project from the Chalukya circle to Hebbal stretch has drawn severe criticism from various quarters in Bengaluru. Amidst numerous protests and even a petition to stop the project, the Bangalore Development Authority on Wednesday released a document highlighting "salient features" of the flyover along with some FAQs.
The document covers the trajectory of the burgeoning traffic woes in the said stretch and outlines the constructions that the BDA plans to undertake in the project. The BDA claims that this elevated flyover will serve the following purposes:
- Signal time and delay will be greatly reduced
- Travel speed will be increased
- There will be an unhindered movement of traffic from NH-7
- Airport bound traffic will be catered to
- Future project traffic will also be catered to
There have been various concerns about the exorbitantly high cost of the project, which the document pegs at Rs 1,350 crore. The BDA justifies the cost saying that the constructions under the project will include the various underpasses, up ramps and down ramps, apart from the flyover itself.
The total land acquisition required for the project would be 14,986 square meters of government land along with 4,124 square meters of private land. Some of the government-owned areas from where land will be acquired include Balabrooyi Guest House (Bellary road and Palace road), Mekhari circle, and Golf course (Bellary road). Among private areas, Palace ground and Chalukya Hotel-owned land will be acquired, along with a few other places.
As for the destruction of heritage sites in the process, the BDA claims that only a part of the Balabrooyi guest house will have to be demolished, which will be rebuilt in the original pattern once the construction of the flyover is completed.
Steel over concrete
One of the biggest contentions regarding the construction of this flyover has been the use of steel over the conventional concrete. The BDA claims in its document that the decision to use steel has been taken to ensure least blockage and barricading the Rajbhavan/Chalukya junction to Hebbal which is the "spine for airport bound traffic".
Another reason cited is ease of construction and early completion:
"Steel structure is a prefabricated in casting yard and placed in-site after pier is erected. Even the pier / column are with structural steel which can be assembled in-situ after pile cap is constructed. The weight of the superstructure is in order of 10 to 15T in steel as against 70T to 100T in case of concrete. This implies that the foundation can be prepared with less space (lesser width of pile cap)..."
Bengaluru citizens are up in arms against the 812 trees which will be felled for the construction of the flyover. The BDA in the document proposes to plant 60,000 "ornamental plants" in lieu of the trees which will be cut.
As for questions on whether the project has clearance of the Environment ministry, the BDA cites a 2013 circular, which exempted "highway extension" projects from seeking appraisal and clearance by the ministry.
Public consultation and social impact
Citizen groups complain that the public was not consulted before going forward with the project. The BDA however, says that they had issued a press release in June, inviting suggestions. Based on the 299 responses it received (in a city of over one crore people), the BDA found that 79% were supportive of the project and hence, decided to move forward with it.
The BDA says that the project did not require social impact assessment because no families are being displaced involuntarily due to the project.
The document says that the BDA did not seek permission from Bangalore Metropolitan Planning Committee (BMPC) because BMPC suggests "overall plan and projects. Approval of each and every project need not be obtained from BMPC. The Cabinet has already accorded approval."