The Debate On Developing Flyovers Continues As Bengaluru Is Set To Get 11 New Flyovers


Despite concerns that the proposed flyovers will add more vehicles to the roads, the development is expected to bring lost-lasting solutions to the city’s traffic woes.

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai last week said that the state government has approved the construction of 11 flyovers in Bengaluru.

“It is for the first time in the history of Bengaluru that 11 overpasses have been sanctioned in just one year. These changes would provide long lasting solutions to the citizens,” the Chief Minister said.

The construction of 11 proposed flyovers is sanctioned under the Amrit Nagarotthana Scheme. Under the same scheme, Rs 3,000 crore grant had been released for the construction of roads.

The Chief Minister added, the government believes that flyovers and underpasses will help ease congestion in the city. Bengaluru is the fastest-growing city with 5,000 new vehicles added on a daily basis and there is a need to chalk out short- and long-term plans to deal with the traffic flow.

The decision of building flyovers, however, has also met with opposition in the city, as many believe that the development of flyovers will only add more vehicles to the roads.

One of this being the Sankey Road widening and flyover project. Various environmental and civic activists have raised objections against the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) over this proposed development.

The Ongoing Debate Over Flyovers

Many Indian cities today are struggling to control and ease vehicular traffic movement as it continues to witness steady increase in population and mobility demand.

For the same, the focus of the government authorities has been to enhance the arterial road infrastructure, along with introducing flyovers as a means to decongest junctions, ease the vehicular movement and reduce travel time.

While such infrastructure tends to enhance the flow of traffic within the city, the ease in travelling is also believed to increase more usage of private vehicles on city roads. This increment, however, is influenced by lack in development and convenience with other modes of city transit.

Eventually, with the increased dependency and number of private vehicles on roads, the traffic and congestion issues still persist in the cities.

These experiences have invited certain resistance by some city dwellers towards the introduction of more flyovers.

Additionally, the citizens are raising concerns with the cost and time along with physical and ecological changes involved in the development process for the flyovers.

These reasons added with specific individual opinions such as objections from the affluent residents in the upscale areas who want to keep their surroundings free — altogether, have developed an alternate narrative surrounding the development of flyovers in various public and civil society discourses.

With certain valid objections, this strict opposition, however, can be debated as it fails to acknowledge the existing support which these infrastructural developments have been providing in the mobility functioning and easing vehicular movement in Bengaluru and also other cities.

Need For A Balanced Development

To support the decrease in vehicle usage, alternative transit options must be made available to the general population.

A holistic balance is required, focusing on enhanced options for public transport infrastructure for the city dwellers, while also maintaining the best infrastructure for private vehicular commute.

Looking at the data, the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) fleet of buses did not expand as required for the demand. While the number of buses in 2011-2012 was 6,064, it has increased to 6,763.

Meanwhile, the increase in the size of the city and the number of people, there has been an exponential rise in the number of vehicles. In the last one decade, it jumped from 50.33 lakh in 2011-2012 to 1.04 crore till March 2022. Bengaluru added about 600,000 new vehicles each year since 2018.

Thus, it can be seen that the lack of an inefficient public transport system has forced the city dwellers to rely on private vehicles for daily commute.

Meanwhile, private vehicles may remain the top preference for majority population in all Indian cities, due to its convenience and utility, the influences of the Indian market cultures and as a public aspiration.

However, as public transportation infrastructure such as metros and buses continue to grow and alternative options become increasingly accessible, providing equal if not greater convenience, it is important to regulate the use of private vehicles for everyday commuting.

This can additionally be supported through ways of making private transport expensive, increased parking costs, stricter laws and more.

Metro system in Bengaluru has been serving four lakh commuters, which is expected to increase with its ongoing phased expansion.

Flyovers will still be necessary as its purpose of providing ease to all kinds of traffic movement still remains primary.

Even with increased number of buses on the roads to match the demand, or other public transit systems for last mile connectivity, flyovers will still be ideally needed to manage the traffic movement within the city.

The infrastructure allows benefits to free up the vehicular movements in dense settlements, avoid movement of buses in narrow lanes and intersections, reduce emissions and noise.

Furthermore, it can allow more space, safety and scope for people friendly streets as it frees up the vehicular movements on the road level.