The third part of this series on Steel flyover took us to the office of Naresh Narasimhan who was one of the principal architects of the Steel Flyover Beda movement which saw people from the city form a human chain from Chalukya Circle to Mehkri Circle on October 16 in 2016. A noted architect from the city, Narasimhan was quick to point out to me as we set up the camera: “I am not against flyovers, but against long ones which exceed a kilometre.”
As the camera rolled, he got down to the nuts and bolts of this argument. “We must be the only city in the world that is still proposing flyovers as a traffic solutions in the world. It hasn’t worked anywhere.”
But what about the problem at the choke points – Chalukya Circle, BDA Junction Cauvery Junction, Mehkri Circle and Hebbal? That these spots are a problem is universally accepted. How does one solve these problems and give an alternate to the government’s proposal? He picks up the map of this stretch to explain an alternative solution that was presented to the government.
“The idea is not to approach this problem from Chalukya Circle but from Hebbal where the situation is bad. The problem is risen because a four lane road at Hebbal suddenly narrows into two lanes causing congestion. What are our options? We turn that stretch entirely into a four lane road. If that is not possible because of the NGT order around the Hebbal Lake, build a suspension bridge over the existing flyover; rework the magic box at Cauvery junction and build a looped flyover of less than a kilometre going through the land that has been acquired from the palace, retain the trees as a median facilitating an easy right turn; bring down the BDA flyover and have another one going over the railway bridge near Windsor Manor and your problem is solved in about Rs 100 crores instead of the Rs 2500 crore they want to spend on the flyover.”
However when asked about the other mammoth project with the 102km elevated corridor that will crisscross across the city if it goes through, Narasimhan remains cautious and refrains from a specific answer.
However, the one thing he remains convinced about is that these projects will cause irreparable damage to Bengaluru. “I don’t know why the metro to the airport is in Phase 3 instead of Phase 2. Prioritise the projects right,” he says.
What Naresh says is absolutely right about de-congesting Hebbal Flyover, Cauvery Circle, etc. But any amount of prioritising Metro2Airport (M2A)will not help now. The situation to Airport is already bad and is tending towards becoming alarming very soon. Phase2 of Namma Metro is already delayed, and the earliest we can have an effective and efficient M2A will be 2025. Can we wait until then ? NO. So, the IMMEDIATE STEP is for Train2Airport (T2A) to be quickly implemented leveraging the existing grossly under-utlised Railway Line. This implementation can be done within 6 months and will help us tide over the period when M2A can be ready.