Metro work at multiple locations worsens commuter woes

Traffic congestion, potholed roads and damaged footpaths have become all too common

August 07, 2018 09:00 pm | Updated 09:00 pm IST

 Namma Metro work near Silk Board junction on Hosur Road in Bengaluru.

Namma Metro work near Silk Board junction on Hosur Road in Bengaluru.

a As metro lines snake their way across the length and breadth of the city turning several neighbourhoods into a beehive of construction activity, commuting has become a daunting task.

While in the long run, the project will benefit the city, motorists and pedestrians are grappling with congestion, potholes and damaged footpaths.

Silk Board mayhem

The already congested Silk Board junction has become a nightmare on account of metro work on the Marenahalli Road- Silk Board stretch. The road gets clogged, especially during peak hour. With the carriage way shrinking to almost half, crossing the junction has become a nightmare.

“The traffic movement has slowed down considerably since the construction started. The median near the junction has been damaged and motorcyclists use it to take an illegal U-turn,” said a traffic sub-inspector.

Damaged pavements and construction debris make it difficult for pedestrians who are forced to walk on the road.

Shamanth R, who works in a nearby hotel, said: “There is no space to walk. Crossing the road is impossible as there is no pedestrian crossings. The dust storm caused by construction activity makes it difficult to breathe. We are thankful that the BMRCL is finally repairing the footpath in some places.”

A majority of the local commercial establishments in the area, such shops, banks and petrol bunks, have recorded a drop in business as direct access to the shops from the main road has been cut off.

Anand Kumar, owner of a petrol pump, said: “Our business has dropped by 50% in the last 8 to 10 months. People can’t even see the petrol bunk due to barricades.”

No access to service road

Wider roads has meant fewer problem for motorists on Hosur Road where the metro construction work is currently under way near Electronics City.

However, people are finding it difficult to enter residential and industrial areas from the main road as the service road along the highway has been taken over by the BMRCL.

Raghuvir, a school bus driver, said: “Larger vehicles have to take a detour to reach the destination as the service road has been blocked.” Smaller vehicles, in order to avoid taking longer routes, cut through the construction site.

Pockmarked roads

At the other end of the city, which is the IT hub, metro construction has left the roads riddled with potholes. The problem is acute near ITPL.

“Traffic is unbearably slow during peak hours. To make matters worse, the roads are in bad condition. Frequent showers have further damaged them, leading to several potholes cropping up. Nothing has been done to fill them,” said Lingaraju B., a cab driver.

For the most part, pavements are non-existent. Pawan Kumar, an IT employee in Whitefield, said: “The condition of footpaths is very poor. Crossing the road is difficult as there is no one to manage the traffic.”

Enveloped in dust

Two years of metro construction has left the Kanakapura road stretch, extending from Yelachenahalli to Anjanapura township, covered in dust.

Though traffic movement has improved following re-laying of road, pedestrians continue to suffer due to absence of proper footpaths.

“The roads are better, but pedestrians don’t have safe walking space. Footpaths are either damaged, covered with garbage or used by motorcyclists,” said Venkatesh N., a local shop owner.

A BMRCL official at the construction site said the footpaths will be relaid after civic work is completed.

Bottleneck round-the-clock

At the Mysuru Road to Kengeri stretch, where BMRCL work has been under way for a year, bottlenecks are par for the course. Buses always tend to get delayed since there is congestion right outside the bus stand,” said Sagar K., a daily commuter from Kengeri bus stand.

The condition of the roads has only worsened, say motorists. “Even after several complaints, the roads have not been repaired. It is extremely time consuming to travel on this road. Weekends are the worst,” said Dhanush B., a resident of Kengeri.

Inner lanes choked

Work on Gottigere to Swagat Road on Bannerghatta Main Road started recently, but motorists and pedestrians are unable to escape the impact.

“New metro barricades have sprung up past the Bannerghatta- Outer Ring Road intersection near Vega City Mall. Traffic has been diverted to narrower lanes, which cannot handle it. Even heavy vehicles, such as buses and trucks, are using these road. As a result, the roads have given away,” said a traffic police official in the area.

Access to hospitals along the stretch has also become a problem. “Traffic is the biggest worry. It becomes very difficult to transport patients in critical condition. Due to barricades placed near the hospitals we have to take a longer route to reach the hospital,” said Kishore, an ambulance driver attached to a private hospital.

Unavoidable, says BMRCL

BMRCL officials said civil work is expected to be completed by 2019. “We are trying to restrict the damage as much as possible, but as heavy machinery is being used for the construction, potholes are bound to occur. Vehicular density on roads in the city is too high and hence to reduce the congestion people should opt for public transportation,” said U.A. Vasanth Rao, spokesperson BMRCL.

Metro officials said that once work is completed, completed, roads, drains and footpaths will be constructed.

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