Bengaluru, once again, found itself in a familiar predicament, upholding its reputation for traffic and congestion.
This time, the stretch hosting the city's technological hubs, Outer Ring Road (ORR), encountered an unusual traffic bottleneck on 27 September (Wednesday). This situation was so severe that left commuters, including tech professionals and students, standstill on the road for over four hours.
As per several reports, the traffic began to slow down in the morning itself as people returned to work following Tuesday's Bandh (strike).
However, the true extent of the traffic gridlock became evident around 3 pm, as both office-goers and outbound travellers congested the Outer Ring Road and other thoroughfares. This prompted the traffic police to advise IT companies to postpone their employee logouts.
By around 5 pm, the stretch of the ORR from Marathahalli to Silk Board Junction was completely jammed. This deadlock soon extended to other major roads, such as Sarjapur Road, Old Madras Road, Ballari Road, Tumakuru Road, and Mysuru Road.
For the next couple of hours, motorists were effectively stuck in a standstill. According to statements by the police, the situation was further compounded by a brief spell of rain around 4 pm.
The congestion prevailed for several hours, leading the Outer Ring Road Companies Association (ORRCA) to advise member companies to have their employees refrain from leaving work early and wait for the situation to get better.
Krishna Kumar Gowda, ORRCA's Operations Manager, mentioned that following Tuesday's remote work due to a strike, several employees opted to return to their ORR offices for in-person work on Wednesday.
He added, “Multiple factors like rain, water-logging, Ganesha immersion crowds, people travelling out of the city and Friday Karnataka bandh — all contributed to heavy traffic today on ORR and ARR.”
Joint Commissioner of Police MN Anucheth and his team were on ORR and pointed to five factors contributing to the unusual congestion.
Here's what the traffic police had to say about the traffic situation that paralysed Bengaluru for hours.
According to traffic police, on a typical Wednesday, congestion alerts between Silk Board and Tin Factory on Outer Ring Road are at 197, but on 27 September, they soared to 1,069.
Wednesdays usually see 1.5-2 lakh vehicles, but by 7:30 pm on September 27, the number reached 3.59 lakh.
Further, persistent rainfall led to waterlogging on several inner roads, exacerbating traffic congestion.
Heavy rains caused multiple potholes, disrupting the smooth traffic flow.
The police shared that between 3:30 pm and 5 pm, six vehicle breakdowns occurred on ORR — Worsening the situation as the road was already constricted due to ongoing Metro construction.
Additionally, the upcoming extended weekend prompted many to leave the city, with September 28 as Eid-e-Milad, a Karnataka bandh called by Pro-Kannada organisations on September 29, followed by Saturday and Sunday, and October 2 being Gandhi Jayanti.
The ORR plays a pivotal role in serving the city's technology sector
Constructed in phases from 1996 to 2002, the Outer Ring Road covers a 60-kilometre circuit around a substantial part of Bengaluru.
Originally designed to connect major highways, improve travel efficiency, and reduce congestion, it was developed by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) with the aim of diverting heavy vehicles, including trucks, away from the city center.
However, the proliferation of tech parks and residential complexes on both sides of the ORR has presented new challenges.
According to a report submitted by the Outer Ring Road Companies Association (ORRCA) to the traffic police, there are 6.4 lakh employees commuting daily between Silk Board and KR Puram, utilising 3.3 lakh vehicles, including personal cars and cabs.
The section in southeast Bengaluru, near IT offices in Whitefield and Sarjapur Road, has become known as the tech corridor. The absence of parallel roads and the road's design make this tech corridor, vulnerable to disruptions.
Several areas along the ORR, such as Marathahalli, Bellandur, Central Silk Board, KR Puram, Hebbal, and Goraguntepalya, also consistently face severe traffic congestion.
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