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Mission Decongestion: Ground reports on traffic gridlocks in Bengaluru

Cracking the code to cross Silk Board junction

Metro and expressway expected to cut down grade-level traffic at Silk Board junction by 60%  

July 16, 2022 11:11 pm | Updated July 22, 2022 09:51 am IST

Silk Board Junction on Bannergatta Road in Bengaluru.

Silk Board Junction on Bannergatta Road in Bengaluru. | Photo Credit: SUDHAKARA JAIN

During his recent visit to Bengaluru, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that steps would be taken in the coming days to decongest traffic gridlocks. 

During his recent visit to Bengaluru, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that steps would be taken in the coming days to decongest traffic gridlocks.  | Photo Credit: SUDHAKARA JAIN

 

Apart from its salubrious climate, beautiful parks, gardens, tree-lined roads, cosmopolitan nature and being a science and IT hub, what else is Bengaluru famous for? Its infamous traffic.  

During his recent visit to the city, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that steps would be taken in the coming days to decongest traffic gridlocks. Various government departments got to work soon after and conducted inspections at seven problematic junctions and announced some short and long-term plans for each junction.  

Through this series, we try to navigate these gridlocks and see if the measures have brought any relief to commuters.  

“To succeed in the IT industry in Bengaluru, you have to master a code: the code to cross the Silk Board junction,” goes a popular meme. A visit to the junction during the peak hours helps one understand why it is indeed a tough code to crack.  

If there is a shining example of Bengaluru’s traffic gridlocks, it is the Central Silk Board (CSB) junction — one of the seven junctions identified for introducing decongestion measures. Apart from attracting the ire and exasperation of those who must pass through, the junction has also inspired many a meme and even a short film!  

This junction connects several areas such as BTM Layout, HSR Layout, Koramangala and Outer Ring Road with the Central Business District (CBD). There is also a flyover above the junction which connects BTM Layout with Koramangala. The construction work for Silk Board – Hebbal metro line is also in progress at the junction.    

Existing problems  

The construction work has been termed as the root cause of most problems here by those who travel via the junction every day. During the peak hours, it takes these motorists at least 30 minutes to cross signals on all four sides.

“I do not remember ever crossing this signal in less than 20 minutes in the morning and evening from Bellandur towards CSB. The green signal is only given for 30 to 40 seconds and that should be increased. Thankfully, now the buses stop inside the bus stop. Otherwise, it used to be a nightmare if you were stuck behind those buses”Prem, manager of a hotel near the junction

Whilst the road from Bellandur towards CSB is quite wide, the construction work after the signal requires motorists to maneuver carefully as the road gets narrower. This leads to minor congestion every now and then, which inevitably causes vehicles from other sides of the junction to also slow down.  

The traffic problems here are made worse when it rains as due to problems in the drainage systems, the water overflows onto the roads and creates small puddles every few hundred metres, slowing down motorists. It can also be observed that a fair share of the huge volume of vehicles here is made up of BMTC buses, which, if not stopped at the designated stops, delay vehicular movement. Further, pedestrians on all sides of the junctions struggle to find safe spaces to cross roads and walk amidst the moving vehicles, construction materials, haphazardly-parked autorickshaws and cabs and the non-availability of footpaths.  

What has changed?  

“I have been stuck in traffic jams on all sides of this junction. The service road towards HSR Layout is especially narrow for the vehicles that pass here every day. The traffic police here should definitely do more regulation instead of collecting fines”Vasanthachari, cab driver

While BMTC buses used to stop next to BMRCL barricades in front of the depot, post inspection, the depot was opened and now all the buses start and stop from there.

Bus drivers have also been instructed not to stop once they are out of the depot before driving towards ORR. According to commuters, this has made a considerable difference, especially in the evenings.

Those who commute by bus also said that getting in and out of buses has now gotten easier. Yet, they all agree that there is still a lot of scope for improvement as crossing the junction still remains a nightmare. 

(Mission Decongestion is a series on some of the worst traffic junctions in Bengaluru that the civic authorities hope to decongest)

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