Bengaluru Traffic Congestion: D.K Shivakumar Pursues His' Tunnel' Vision To Fix The Issue, Seeks Feasibility Report For Tunnel Road Projects

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Jul 06, 2023, 12:06 PM | Updated Jul 07, 2023, 10:46 AM IST

Tunnel Road In Singapore
Tunnel Road In Singapore

Deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar has sought a feasibility study on construction of tunnel roads, which he believes will be possible solution to address the notorious traffic gridlocks that Bengaluru city often experiences.

At a meeting held at Shivakumar’s office at Vidhana Soudha, representatives of AECOM, a leading international firm with expertise in urban infrastructure designs, made a detailed presentation to the Deputy CM and officials from Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA), Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials and other city agencies.

The meeting was reportedely attended by entrepreneur Mohandas Pai, Rajya Sabha member M V Rajeev Gowda and few other urban activists of the city.

AECOM is said to presented preliminary ideas on constructing surface roads and elevated roads to ease the traffic congestion in the city.

Shivakumar is also slated to visit Singapore with a team of senior officials to gain first-hand experience with tunnel roads.

The concept of double-decker tunnel road, separate lane for two wheelers and tunnel road model in other countries, among other subjects, reportedely discussed during the meeting.

The state government is planning to conduct a feasibility study for building tunnel roads in two congested areas of the city centre to connect the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) with the IT corridors.

According to a report in Deccan Herald, it will cost around Rs 450 crore per km of tunnelling. The state government is reportedly planning various funding options such as long-term loans, public-private partnerships and asset monetisation.

The State Government has already sought the assistance of the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways of India to build a 63-km-long, three-lane twin tunnel road connecting Peenya-Hebbal-K.R. Puram-Hosur on National Highway-44 to ease the traffic congestion in Bengaluru city.

State Public Works Minister Satish Jarkiholi mooted the proposal during his meeting with Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari in the last week of June.

Jarkiholi also discussed the proposal for constructing a flyover at Hebbal junction in Bengaluru city on NH 44.

According to sources privy to the discussions on Tuesday, the government is considering constructing tunnel roads between Hebbal and KR Puram via Mehkri Circle, Bengaluru Cantonment railway station, and Old Madras Road. A second stretch would connect Silk Board from Cantonment through Double Road, Lalbagh and Hebbal.

The idea of building tunnel roads to ease traffic congestion has been proposed many times before but has faced strong opposition from environmentalists and public transport activists.

Previous plans to build tunnel roads have been abandoned due to cost concerns and adverse feasibility reports.

In 2017, a Bulgarian company was entrusted with preparing a preliminary report to create a Tunnel Road for the city.

The tunnel road, estimated to cost Rs. 25,000 crores, was proposed for a length of 83 kilometres and included three corridors (North-South: Central Silk Board to Hebbal through the city (16 km); East-West: K R Puram to Gorguntepalaya and Jnana Bharathi to Varthur Kodi). Additionally, three connecting corridors were proposed: Agara to Kalasipalya (9.2 km), Richmond Circle to Halasuru (2.3 km), and Kalyan Nagar to St John's Church Road (7.5 km). The project never made any headway.

In 2015, the state government announced that it was planning a tunnel ring road along the periphery of Bengaluru. The corridor was supposed to begin from Tumakuru Road and pass along Doddaballapur Road, Ballari Road and Sarjapur Road before meeting Hosur Road.

The project, however, was abandoned after the feasibility report found that it was unviable.

In 2011, another proposal for road tunnels was mooted by then Bengaluru development minister R. Ashoka. The project didn't progress beyond discussions, as the underground metro rail was planned along the same stretch.

In 2007, the Karnataka government led by HD Kumaraswamy proposed to build a 7.1-km tunnel between Minsk Square and Sankey Road, but the proposal was later scrapped.

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