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Mission Decongestion: Ground reports on traffic gridlocks in Bengaluru

The two-decade journey of Bengaluru’s Hebbal flyover to become a traffic gridlock

Expansion of city, explosion of vehicular population, and opening of Kempegowda International Airport cited to be major factors in traffic congestion at Hebbal flyover

July 17, 2022 08:10 pm | Updated July 22, 2022 09:50 am IST - Bengaluru

Over the years, Bengaluru expanded and vehicular population increased drastically (it has crossed the 1 crore mark), and more importantly, the Kempegowda International Airport also opened. This has resulted in an increased usage of Hebbal flyover, turning it into a traffic gridlock. File

Over the years, Bengaluru expanded and vehicular population increased drastically (it has crossed the 1 crore mark), and more importantly, the Kempegowda International Airport also opened. This has resulted in an increased usage of Hebbal flyover, turning it into a traffic gridlock. File

Almost twenty years ago, the Hebbal flyover, a gateway for vehicles coming from National Highway 44 to enter the city, was opened to motorists. The flyover, with several loops, also helped people travel towards Yeshwanthpur and K.R. Puram.

Over the years, the city expanded and vehicular population increased drastically (it has crossed the 1 crore mark), and more importantly, the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) also opened. This has resulted in an increased usage of the flyover, turning it into a traffic gridlock.

For more than a decade, the civic bodies and the State government made multiple proposals to decongest the junction. However, most of the projects either remained on paper or were halted midway through the work.

To ease traffic, the chiefs of the civic bodies recently visited the spot and came out with short-term and long-term proposals.

Measures announced

A slew of the short-term measures were announced as a part of the decongestion effort. The authorities claim that these measures would result in reducing the congestion by 15 to 20%.

The BBMP recently introduced short-term measures to ease the traffic at Hebbal Junction. As part of the measures, traffic diversion notices were erected near the junctions for the traffic coming from the airport side.

The BBMP recently introduced short-term measures to ease the traffic at Hebbal Junction. As part of the measures, traffic diversion notices were erected near the junctions for the traffic coming from the airport side. | Photo Credit: SUDHAKARA JAIN

““I have noticed that congestion has reduced to some extent.. Traffic police are also seen manning the traffic even on the flyover. It could be another factor easing the traffic on the flyover to some extent. However, whatever they do now is temporary. There is a need for comprehensive measures to clear the traffic in the area.””Vidyasagar R, motorist

Motorists, though, gave mixed responses about the impact. While some said there is some relief, Revanth Kumar said, “I do not see any impact of the measures taken. The road below the flyover is narrow and cannot accommodate the traffic moving towards Tumakuru Road and also those turning left to access the ramp to move towards the city. In addition to this, due to metro work, the traffic near signals from Allalasandra flyover till Kodigehalli Gate has increased considerably. There will be more congestion once the metro work advances”. 

Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES), which had studied the junction, had also come up with various infrastructure projects to clear the traffic in the area. The State government has entrusted the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) with implementing these projects as long-term measures.

BDA Commissioner Rajesh Gowda said, “There are four components to the infrastructure projects, and the board has deliberated on these projects. Separate tenders need to be floated to take them up”.

Projects that were halted midway

Meanwhile, the proposal to add additional loops to existing lanes is not new. In 2019, the BDA stalled the construction of additional loops to the existing flyover for the benefit of traffic coming from the airport and moving towards the city.

Out of 43 piers, 13 were constructed. After Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) raised objections, saying that the project would come in the way of the proposed Namma Metro expansion, the project was stalled.

In a letter to the Chief Minister, Krishna Byre Gowda, Congress MLA, has demanded that the State government take up the projects and widen the flyover by adding an additional loop.

In the letter, he stated that previous construction work of adding additional lanes was sanctioned in 2015-16, and after the works started, it was stopped in 2019. He added that ₹24.49 crore had already been spent for the stalled project.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had proposed to construct a service road from the Hebbal lake side towards Kodigehalli Gate. Defence land was acquired and several trees were axed for the project. It has been years, but there is no sign of completing the project.

Widening of the service roads and construction of bus bays would help in avoiding the congestion near the skywalk. Hundreds of inter-State passengers come to the point to board buses to Hyderabad and other points.

Major transport junction

In the future, Hebbal will become a major junction. The ORR-airport line of BMRCL is under construction and a metro station will come up near the BMTC depot near Hebbal.

““Instead of ourselves claiming that congestion has been reduced, we have asked an expert to study the impact of short term measures on traffic. In addition to existing measures, we are also taking other measures for the benefit of the motorists and pedestrians using the road under the flyover.””Tushar Giri Nath, Chief Commissioner, BBMP

As per phase III of Namma Metro, an intersection station will be built at Kempapura and the alignment will go via Hebbal (through ORR) to J.P. Nagar. In addition, the State government has also proposed the construction of a metro line from Sarjapur to Hebbal.

Other projects include construction of a railway station as part of a suburban rail project by K-RIDE (Rail Infrastructure Development Company (Karnataka) Ltd). The first phase of the project from Baiyappanahalli to Chikkabanvara will go via Hebbal.

To facilitate the ongoing metro works, BMRCL will widen the service road from Esteem Mall to the Hebbal flyover. An official of BMRCL said, “Hebbal will become a mass transit junction in the future. In addition to building road infrastructure, there is a need for comprehensive planning to integrate future mass transit networks”.

(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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