Ambitious 83-km elevated corridor project takes shape

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Citizen groups that opposed steel flyover take up cudgels against the project

As the steel flyover project comes crashing down, another grander and more ambitious ‘elevated’ one is taking shape. The draft report on the 83-km elevated corridor project, connecting four corners of Bengaluru, is expected to be completed in a month.

Soil testing along the alignment, inventory of metro lines, flyovers and other infrastructures along the project have already been completed, said the Karnataka State Road Development Corporation Ltd. (KRDCL), which has been entrusted with conceiving the report. The report will then be sent to the State government for approval.

“The steel bridge was being conceived independently by the Bangalore Development Authority. This envisions a network of flyovers to alleviate traffic snarls across the city, rather than just a section,” said a senior KRDCL officer. A consultant for the project called it a “final solution” for the city’s transportation crisis. “There will be no need for flyovers for decades after this. It will co-exist with other modes of transportation, including the metro and bus,” he said.

The project, which was pitched to private investors during Invest Karnataka 2016, is expected to cost Rs. 25,000 crore. Around 100 acres of land is to be acquired, apart from countless trees which are yet to be enumerated.

Steel flyover effect?

Will the surge of citizen voices against the steel flyover derail this plan?

R.K. Mishra, a member of the Technical Advisory Committee of BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) and one of the early proponents of the elevated corridors, said the “necessity” of this project will see it come up. “It may not come up before the elections, but I am certain it will be taken up. I had opposed the steel flyover as it covered a small distance and would not have addressed traffic problems. This is an integrated solution, allowing for private commute to co-exist with public transport,” he said.

However, citizen groups, which spearheaded the opposition to the steel flyover, have already taken up cudgels against this project. Naresh Narasimhan of Citizens for Bengaluru said: “We have already conveyed our opposition to his plan. Similar projects in Manila (Philippines) and Jakarta (Indonesia) have failed.”

When asked if the ‘success’ of the steel flyover protests will play a role if this project materialises on the ground, he said: “I suppose so. The people of the city have woken up, after all.”