Bengaluru's love-hate affair with elevated roads is back. Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy announced three major elevated corridors and three connecting corridors totalling to 95 km, to be built a cost of a whopping Rs 15,825 crore. Critics of elevated roads in the city couldn't help but point out that the project would cost Rs 166 crore/km.
Elevated road projects have been running into trouble in Bengaluru for years now. The most prominent recent example was the so-called steel flyover project that was shelved after massive protests from local residents. That is perhaps why the previous CM, Siddaramaiah, had omitted any mention of the projects in the last two budgets.
Kumaraswamy revived them as part of his Karnataka Budget 2018-19 which he tabled in the Assembly on Thursday. He said the project would be constructed in five phases, simultaneously, to ensure completion in four years.
Phase - 1 would be a north-south corridor from Esteem Mall at Hebbal to Silk Board junction and connecting corridor-1 for a length of 23.03 km. Phase - 2 would be an east-west corridor from KR Puram to Gorguntepalya, including Rammurthynagar (Ring road) to ITPL Stretch and two connecting corridors for a length of 36.70 km. Phase - 3 would be a loop at the central business district of the city, t Hudson circle, Richmond circle, Double road and JC Road, and stretch over Shanthinagar for a length of 11.37. Phase - 4 would be the second part of the east-west corridor connecting Minerva Circle to NICE Road Junction on the Outer Ring Road for a length of 6.60 km. Phase - 5 would be again part of the east-west corridor, from Varthur Kodi to Richmond Circle for a length of 17.10 km.
The elevated corridors are likely to be toll roads since they are planned as public-private partnerships (PPPs).
Kumaraswamy's announcement was met with sharp reactions both for and against the idea. Those who supported it claimed these projects were critical to ease the traffic congestion that Bengaluru has become infamous for.
Bangalore is facing traffic problems! Elevated corridor is much needed!
— Mußeen Sháikh (@Mubeenshaikhs) July 5, 2018
And, those who oppose it say elevated roads are useless at reducing congestion and that it would cost only as much to construct better public transportation like the metro.
#ElevatedCorridorBeda Monster at a ridiculous 150 cr per km while National Highways at 1/3 the cost. #ChukubukuBeku #BusBeku @citizensforblr @drashwathcn @JagadishShettar @bjparvind @VSOMANNA_BJP @AkhandaSrinivas @srinualavilli @Belawadi @priyachettyr pic.twitter.com/fe4bAtg6pN
— Tara (@tarauk) July 5, 2018
#ElevatedRoads being prioritized over #NammaMetro & #SuburbanRail is a disaster in making for the city. Bengaluru will become another #Delhi if #ElevatedRoads are prioritized #VestedInterests #WrongPriorities clearly evident here.https://t.co/tQHOcvo6Vs
— Vivek Kalkur (@kalkur_vivek) July 5, 2018
Mobility on wrong lane? 15,000 crores for elevated corridor, reduced Metro, only 100 crores for bus, no mention of pedestrians & cyclists. We will end up in more traffic mess pic.twitter.com/OjeNB4o8tG
— Ananda Gundurao (@Anandagundurao) July 6, 2018
At 15000 for 95 kms of elevated corridor will not come cheap #ElevatedCorridorBeda..
This is the cost at the proposal stage... when Detailed estimates/bids are prepared , it will spiral to 20000 crore or more..
— Namma Bengalurooo (@NammaBengaluroo) July 6, 2018
Okay, the voice, at least online, seems to be overwhelmingly against the project. It remains to be seen if Bengaluru citizens band together again and stop the project, like they did with the steel flyover.