Govt announces underground tunnels to fight traffic, experts unsure


Excessive traffic is a problem the government has been trying to tackle over the past few years. From proposals for flyovers to road-widening, there have been many solutions put forward by the government. Now, Minister for Development and Town Planning KJ George has proposed to construct underground tunnels to bring down the vehicular density on roads.

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According to Deccan Chronicle, George has asked the six-member team from ISA West Construction, a Bulgarian infrastructure company, to prepare a feasibility report. Four possible locations have been identified—from Hebbal to Anugraha, the Chief Minister's official residence, covering a distance of six kilometers; from Goraguntepalya to Peenya; from Nayandahalli junction to Majestic (ending at Shantala Silks or mini Lalbagh); and from Jalahalli to Goraguntepalya.

The News Minute report suggests that experts from the Bulgarian company have already begun inspecting the proposed areas. Additional Chief Secretary Mahendra Jain of the Urban Development Department said,

The cost of the project is yet to be determined. The activists had opposed the steel flyover project because they felt there would be a huge loss of green cover. So, we have decided to build underground roads to help reduce traffic.

However, experts are not very optimistic about the introduced project. According to The News Minute, traffic expert MN Sreehari said,

If the tunnels are built, then more vehicles will travel on them. Currently, an average of 1,680 vehicle ply on every road in Bengaluru in one hour. With these tunnels in place, it may reduce to 1,500 and not more than that. Instead of building roads, the urban planners must use these underground areas feasible for providing local train lines or metro lines. If new infrastructure is built for public transport only then the vehicle density will decrease as the mass transport connectivity would be better.

Experts are especially worried as the four identified areas are low-lying, hence are prone to water logging. These areas can easily get flooded and are also not very safe for motor bikes as per the experts. The concern is that there will be no change until public transportation is made more accessible. As per The News Minute, Sreehari questioned,

Now they want to build tunnel roads, which will be congested in the future. The idea is not sustainable as adding more roads will only increase the number of private cars. How many tunnel roads will they build every year?

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