In a move aimed at providing some relief for commuters navigating the nightmarish traffic in busiest stretch of Bengaluru‘s outer ring road (ORR) connecting Silk Board Junction with KR Puram, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palik (BBMP), the city’s civic body, announced that it will commence the bus priority lane operations on November 15.
The BBMP and other agencies are working at a frenetic pace to install bollards, signages and other infrastructure along the 17-km route. The design and rollout of the bus priority lane involves coordination of multiple agencies such as the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) , DULT and the traffic police.
The BMTC said that trial runs for the bus priority lane between Silk Board and Tin Factor is already going on.
BMTC is deploying a ground force of 50 personnel to make sure that our buses stick to the left lane. Over 70 cameras have been installed on buses to help identify motorists who violate the rules and use the lane. The footage and photos of the violators wll be submitted to the traffic police so that action can be initiated against them,
The ambitious project, which will be expanded to other parts of the city if it’s successful in ORR.
On several occasions in the past, BMTC has mooted the plan for operationalising dedicated bus lanes but neither BBMP nor traffic police warmed up to the idea. The unwillingess to execute the project was due to apprehensions of possible criticism from private vehicle owners and potential for further hindrance to traffic in the already gridlocked roads of the city.
While the approval for the dedicated bus lane now may have been driven by decline in BMTC’s ridership and ever increasing traffic, BBMP and other agencies received free-hand from deputy chief minister and transport minister Laxman Savadi and deputy CM and Malleswaram MLA CN Ashwath Narayan threw their weight behind the project.
BBMP Commisioner Anil Kumar, Gaurav Gupta, principal secretary, transport department, DULT commissioner V Ponnuraj and BMTC managing director C Shikha have been monitoring the progress of the project . City police commissioner Bhaskar Rao and joint commissioner of police (traffic) Ravikanthe Gowda are also playing an instrumental facilitated permissions from traffic police.
ORR is among the densest corridors in the IT capital of India . It is dotted with major IT Parks that houses major companies including Intel, AOL, Walmart, Oracle, Cisco, Adobe. According to a report by international property consultants Cushman & Wakefield, the ORR submarket alone accounted for a whopping 54 per cent of the 12.7 million square feet net absorption of office space during the year 2017, distantly followed by the peripheral east submarket comprising of Whitefield.
In addition to the preponderance of tech giants, major residential complexes and apartments have also sprung up. This consequently makes it the city’s most congested road. It was reported that traffic snarls along the ORR and in Whitefield cost the industry a whopping Rs 22,000 crore in productivity losses per annum.
The project is seen a temporary respite as the metro line proposed by Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) along the ORR has witnessed several delays.
BMRCL had submitted the detailed project report (DPR) to the Union Urban affairs ministry, which sought some assurances from the state earlier this year.
Once the final approval is received from the ministry, BMRCL will begin implementing the Outer Ring Road metro line from Silk Board Junction to KR Puram, at an estimated cost Rs 6,000 crore, and the KR Puram-Kempegowda International Airport line at an estimated cost of Rs 10,584.15 crore.
According to BMRCL the work on the projects will be divided into eight segments with tenders likely to be floated by October-end or early November.
The 17-km stretch from Silk Board to K R Puram line (Phase II A) will be implemented in three packages while the 56- km long K R Puram to KIA line (Phase II B) will be taken up in five packages.