North Bangalore waits with bated breath for the Karnataka budget to sanction funds to ease the congestion on the Hebbal clover-leaf which is the main artery to exit and enter the city’s fastest developing area.
The Bangalore Development Authority which had planned to design, fund and execute the additional loop towards the city has run out of funds.
All that the flyover loop needs is Rs 88 crore for the work to complete. The question on everyone’s mind is whether this project will die a natural death if the government revives the controversial steel flyover from Basaveshwara junction to Hebbal.
Already 25,000 CPUs pass through Hebbal flyover during peak hour and the projection for the next four years is that the PCUs will quadruple. In 2019 itself, it is expected to cross 32,000 CPUs. With the recent news that the Kempegowda International Airport registered 26.91 million passengers in 2017-18 and grew at 17.6 %, the arterial road to the airport will only get choked further.
It has already left residents of Sahakarnagar, Vidyaranyapura, Amruthahalli, Kodigehalli, Hebbal-Kempapura, Coffee Board Layout, Jakkur, Kogilu, Yelahanka and beyond fuming as it’s stressful in bumper-to-bumper traffic from Esteem Mall to get to the other end during peak hours.
The Bangalore Development Authority has been struggling to build the additional two-lane loop on the existing Hebbal flyover as the National Green Tribunal has ordered that a buffer area of 75 metres be maintained near water bodies. With the Hebbal lake right at its edge, a new circular design going away from the lake side was prepared.
There have been hiccups galore ever since the project was conceptualised and a tender floated in 2015. In 2016, uncertainty loomed over it as the previous government proposed a steel flyover between Basaveshwara Circle and Esteem Mall across the Hebbal flyover at a whopping Rs 2,000 crore plus. Subsequently, this proposal was dropped. In 2017, work on the loop was revived. The BDA had set April 2018 as the deadline for completing it, but work is on at a snail’s pace, due to non-availability of funds with the BDA.
With the BBMP refusing to take over the stricken project, the state government has reportedly agreed to fund it, but there is a growing concern that it would be shelved if the steel flyover gets priority. “The steel flyover cannot be built by even 2022. As the pillars are already raised, if the Karnataka government funds it in this budget, it can be completed by this year-end,” says Jagadish M, a regular commuter.
Asha G agrees with him and says this project should have been given priority and completed before this month’s Aero India show. “The Air Show days will witness heavy traffic and clogging. If it’s started now, it can be atleast completed by the end of the year,” she says.
The vehicular density is only increasing as this part of the city is not connected to Namma Metro. The BMRCL too is not clear on the metro route. While the original plan was to have a high speed rail along one side of the Airport road from MG Road, it was shelved and a plan to extend the Gottigere-Nagawara Metro line was conceived. It was to run overhead from Nagawara via Hedge Nagar-Jakkur-Kogilu. This was recently scrapped and a new alternative route through Nagawara-Hebbal-Kodigehalli was announced. “It is still not clear if the Metro will ever come to north Bangalore,” says an exasperated G. Devaraj, a resident of Sahakar Nagar.
So, it’s all the more important for the government to sanction funds for the additional Hebbal flyover loop and ease the bottleneck.
The new loop will tower above the current loop from Outer Ring Road (Manyata Tech Park side) towards the city and the down ramp has been planned at Baptist Hospital where the traffic will merge. A total of 43 pillars has been planned, but only a handful have been built as of now.
As part of the expansion plan, an uni-directional underpass is also on the anvil to take traffic from Manyata Tech Park side towards Tumkur road.