Traffic congestions at Mysuru-Bengaluru Expressway junctions: Start and end points needed better planning
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Traffic congestions at Mysuru-Bengaluru Expressway junctions: Start and end points needed better planning

June 9, 2023

We must admit our lack of competence in development of Highways and Expressways

By V. N. Prasad

Recently, I saw a video titled “China’s mind-bending mega bridge: A magical journey on the world’s most complex overpass.”  It is worth watching a million times.

Road traffic converging at a junction is so beautifully (I mean technically) segregated and diverted to respective destinations. The junction is spread over several hectares of land and the highest separator is at a height of  ‘twelve-storeyed building.’

I am sure it has raised many a brow even among AASHTO — American Association of State Highway and Transport Officials — an autonomous body in the US that designs and hands over completed road projects to the Government comprehensively and competently.

I guess NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) was also formed on similar lines. Whereas AASHTO consists of a private independent body of qualified and competent professionals, NHAI seems to be studded with officers from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH).

I write this narrative with reference to the news item published in Star of Mysore dated May 25, 2023, titled “Bottleneck on Mysuru – Bengaluru Highway” wherein bizarre discussions are enumerated — all “slipshod” to say the least. Our system and practices are more reactive than the adage “first time, best time.”

The message is loud and clear. “Design teams called DPR consultants” cannot be merely the ones to draw lines with ‘mouses’ using software; without a thought to the intricacies involved in connectivity, geometry, drainage and convenience to the public and several other details.

Expressway lacks fundamentals

Our Expressway is a grand demonstration of the lack of these fundamentals, especially at the ends at Kengeri in Bengaluru and Kempegowda Circle (Mysuru-Bengaluru Highway Outer Ring Road – ORR junction) in Mysuru.

Generally speaking, data collection and evaluation in final design proposals are important. Several teams, namely geotechnical, junction designing, hydrology, materials testing and data collectors from intervening towns, villages, hamlets etc., have to ‘dwell and delve’ for months to collect the minutest details before submitting final proposals called Detailed Project Report (DPR).

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The term ‘Detailed’ in itself encompasses the meaning of exhaustive detailing and accuracy in the process. Competence is the essence. The exercise generally is in the following stages before a DPR is accepted for execution:

1. Inception report and review of the report.

2. DPR based on inception report.

3.  A comprehensive review report of DPR; to bridge oversights of inception report and DPR.

Design deficiencies

All of the above shall minimise the after-effects of ‘design deficiencies’, leading to avoidable confusion and ‘variation orders’ further leading to ‘escalations’ at the cost of our tax-payers; all ‘reactive’ phenomena. The very fact that the project costs overshoot is because the DPR and processes involved are incomplete in nature.

Common sense would dictate to the inception report team that there is a NICE Road and a Metro Line on the Kengeri side and therefore ‘exit loops’ had to be designed; one over the Metro to connect the Tumakuru side approach of NICE Road and the other to fly over the Expressway, onto NICE Road to connect Hosur side approach; instead of landing all traffic at ground level at Kengeri; a ‘bottleneck’ that even a Brahma can’t solve.

On Mysuru side, the ‘exit loops’ had to necessarily fly over the ‘aqueduct’, less than 500 mts approaching Kempegowda Circle; to connect the Outer Ring Road onto Bannur Road side and Hunsur Road side while the ground level one could lead to city.

Competence, coordination

Of course, all these need extremely high competence to coordinate with the existing NICE road of Bengaluru and ORR of Mysuru. But, someone had to do it. And, because none did them, we have a situation that looks ridiculous, to say the least.

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Now, coming to the so-called “interim relief measures,” it all looks laughable. I contend that the RoW (right of way) approaching all major junctions need gradual widening over a distance at not more than 2 to 3 degrees, so that ‘medians’ could be narrowed to accommodate an additional lane of 3.50 mts plus another 50 cm for kerb edge and road painting widths at the junctions.

Now it’s too late

For our traffic volumes, the length of such turning lanes needs to accommodate 10 to 15 long chassis vehicles for the efficient disposal of traffic volumes. And such aspects need thoughts in the inception report, not now.

I doubt if the current thought process either can accommodate a 4.00 mts turning lane at 2 to 3 degrees ‘kerb inlets’. Else, we shall be exhibiting another school of hurried incompetent alteration. In the absence of a 4.00 mts turning lane width, I can right away see the backs of turning lane vehicles protruding into the adjoining lane. How do you tolerate such idiosyncrasies?

So, in ‘sum and substance’, we need to admit that we lack competence in the development of Highways and Expressways. It is no shame to hire highly experienced design firms from developed countries to establish offices in India, attach our teams to their offices, learn the art comprehensively to eliminate ridiculous mistakes and give good roads to our public. I challenge that this option would cost less to the exchequer.

Meanwhile, may God help our systems.

[The author is a designer of roads — highways and townships and has served on projects in East Africa and India as a designer and project management consultant. He is a product of UVCE, Bangalore, 1973 batch.]

15 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Traffic congestions at Mysuru-Bengaluru Expressway junctions: Start and end points needed better planning”

  1. Lunchave Swarga,Mosave Kailasa , Modiye Shiva! says:

    Just look at that congestion in this new Expresswqay, which was inaugurated just a few moths ago by Modi, who surrounded by his BJP thugs, boasted about the engineering ingenuity and achiement of Indians.
    I have been to China, and have seen how the highways there are constructed and operated, with emphasis on quality and efficiency. Hence, it is economic, military and an advanced supoer power overtaking US, in all areas including scientific and engineering research. It willtake incomeptent India at least 30 years to catch up with China.
    ” we need to admit that we lack competence in the development of Highways and Expressways. It is no shame to hire highly experienced design firms from developed countries to establish offices in India, attach our teams to their offices, learn the art comprehensively to eliminate ridiculous mistakes and give good roads to our public. I challenge that this option would cost less to the exchequer”
    Narendra Modi who goes around places like Australia and Japan, boasts about India as an advanced country will not like the above. He is just a deluded moron.
    While Modi is baosting about India, his young men and students despite 800 universities in India are seeking asylum in England after paying people smugglers money, and landing in England travelling in dinghies across the English Channel, so that they can stay in England, get the student loans to study in universities and get also living expenses-all paid for by the citizens in nEngland. That is the patheetic mind of Indians see: 1.https://www.wionews.com/world/why-are-indian-students-crossing-the-english-channel-to-enter-uk-on-small-boats-558460
    2.https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/surge-in-indian-migrants-crossing-channel-in-small-boats-linked-to-student-visas-935flhr67
    Chinese do not indulge in this sort of asylum seeking,. Chinese students enter with proper visas, pay fees, get their degreesd, go home to construct their nation.
    Indians are only capable of deploying IT tech coolies for cheap IT work, paid in Rupees which is as much worth as a waste paper, and even in this i|T aarea, where the mobile app applications are grwing, China holds an upper hand with its innovative apps.
    India cannot manage fast train network-the recent accident proves it, and this Expressway shows , Indians ccannot manage roads too!

  2. raja areyada says:

    This kind of stupidity is a speciality of Karnataka. Arrangements for handling congestion at both the ends of the expressway are made well in advance in places like Mumbai.

    Take the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) for instance. 21.5 KMs long with 16.5 KMs over the sea, a feat that is amazing and something our lazy, corrupt and inefficient development agencies in Karnataka can never dream of.

    The portion over the sea is almost completed. At the same time, all the connectors at both ends are also being put in place. At the Sewri end, two connectors for north and south bound traffic to the Eastern freeway are being constructed. Another connector will take motorists right over South Central Mumbai to join the Worli Bandra sealink, which itself is being extended up to Borivili as a part of the coastal road project and provide access to the Surat Baroda – Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Kota New Delhi highways.

    At the Chirle end in Navi Mumbai, connectors are being put in place to connect MTHL to the proposed Navi Mumbai international airport, the NH4 to Bangalore and Chennai, NH66 to Goa and Mangalore, the NH 8 connector to link to the Mumbai Nagpur Expressway which leads to the Newdelhi/Kolkata expressways.

    This is what is called planning. Not just mindless construction with focus on 40%+ commission and to hell with the commuters and the public settled on either side of the service roads.

  3. Lunchave Swarga,Mosave Kailasa , Modiye Shiva! says:

    Is this the new Expressway, that Narendra Modi inaugurated, with another bearded cretinSimha standing beside, and boasting how India has advanced so much? It looks like a disoriented car park!
    Indians who have seen the China Expressways, travelled on them, should hang their heads in shame after travelling on this Expressway, which has degenerated into a third rate congested road with drivers ignoring the traffic rules and decency. No wonder, China is a super power and economically and industry-wise it is marching way ahead of the third world India.
    All India is capable of is, deploying cheap IT labour, treating the Indian IT Techies as coolies in IT sweatshops for program coding for the outsourced work by the Western companies. Indian products have no qualit. The Indian IT industry has not had any innovation, while China develops and deploys mobile phone apps, which Indians busily download and use!
    What is India good at , otherwise? Despite over 800 universities, and colleges, Indian students pay people smugglers to take them on inflated dinghies across the English Channel to England illegally, and are now claiming asylum in large numbers- to get the student loans to meet the university fee in England and living expenses, thus shamelessly asking UK tax payers to pay for them, having arrived illegally. Read: https://www.wionews.com/world/why-are-indian-students-crossing-the-english-channel-to-enter-uk-on-small-boats-558460
    China does not allow this for its students, who legally enter , study, graduate and go home to develop their country..

  4. Ashok says:

    LS,
    Can there be more pathetic and negative individual than you. Such negativity is not allowed in your China.
    Don’t write biased articles to get some alms.

  5. Murali says:

    I am glad the locals with decent knowledge of road construction snd highways are seeing what it is claimed to be a great achievement in the so called mysore- bangalore expressway. People jump in excitement to praise the inauguration of a road by the PM of a country riddled with corruption snd inefficiency at all levels. Many indians think it is not patriotic to criticise any ill- conceived plan or action supposedly beneficial to the society. It is not the way to reform a country. If there are no public meetings with professionals in charge of discussing the issues with input from the common man who is supposed to be benefited with such grand schemes, it harks the soviet style of governance. It is high time that the professionals realise that they are wasting the public money in building these monuments of incompetence and seek advice and direction from the best in the world and help the country in achieving what is needed

  6. Mandar dixit says:

    Such a nice article analysing the defects in the planning , but this idiot LS completely screwed it by his ranting. Some people simply don’t have any sense. Please take out your frustration somewhere else .

  7. Sundar B N says:

    there’s a walkway over bridge that’s gradually taking shape at Mekhri Circullu in Bengaluru.

    it’s evolution over a year is interesting: the staircases on either side came up along with the walkway over the road but the stairs are too steep. Thus two escalators came up right over the staircases. These cdn’t go over the stairs all the way obviously and so took a hypotenuse above the 5th or 6th step from the bridge and joined it at an angle.

    it’s located at a place which one must reach after an amount of walking because it’s the Bellary Rd. and pedestrians are far and few: anyone reaching this bridge wd be sweating in the sun already. Thus, canopies (?) came above the escalators. Exactly above them: on the days at the time the Sun is at the zenith, it’d provide some shade but most times, considering that good ol’ Sun traverses the sky, those awnings are well, eye-candy.

    Coming back to the bridge itself, they provided some canopy to probably give shelter to those on the bridge itself: some protection from perhaps, gale force winds.

    The Rd is North-South and the bridge, East-West and so, this protection cdn’t be from the Sun but evil winds blowing N-S or from the Sun itself during the days of the Solstices.

    The staircases and the escalators themselves reach the ground on the sidewalks along with their supporting pillars thus causing any odd pedestrian there to get onto the busy road ‘cos there’s no spece left to walk on the sidewalk. That apart the sidewalks near the bridge are secured through barriers so that folks wdn’t wish to venture towards the stairs…

    In the meanwhile, a few kids traverse this bridge perhaps to take a look at the ground from up above but, otherwise, the bridge is as unsullied as driven snow.

    It cdn’t be all that cheap and folks who wish to use it would have had to have decided to do that much before they arrive there, walking, hoping the escalators wd be working.

    That apart, it’d be insane for anyone arriving from the Airport say, to stop their cabs there, lug their luggage in the forlorn hope that the escalators wd be working.

    Could anyone please help us understand the reason for this folly? BTW, this thing began to birthing some 20 months ago, maybe.

  8. Dinesh says:

    What else to expect of the incompetent lot who plan and manage these things?

  9. Radiant_Luv says:

    Just my opinion, It’s not that we lack Design & Engineering competence. What plays major roles is that every thing is done is only for election, Thus it’s only for short term gain whereas these needs longterm vision. And this is irrespective of the political parties, all are choosing optics over sincereity. Here, every political parties even do flag-off relief materials meant to go to flood or any other natural calamity affected areas, Optics over Sincerity!
    And then we have political interference, powerful leaders would demand and influence from stopping land acquisition to routes to entry/ exits to bus stop to everything. Lastly, comparing China which is a authoritan state over a country which is a democratic country is not at par, there are several pros and cons.

  10. Prasad says:

    It’s worst situation to enter into Mysuru after speedy travel from Benguluru. It took almost same time to enter into the Mysuru at Kempegowda circle.

  11. Chandrashekar says:

    I traveled only once on this highway – from Mysuru to Bengaluru. The biggest issue and having driven in many other expressways, my view is the dozens of entry and exit points all over the place. Bikes, auto rickshaws, tractors and everything else are allowed and what’s more, they enter and exit the highway at will without using minimum commonsense. I saw some bikes driving even in the opposite direction! This is supposed to be an expressway which means the least we expect is, it should be access controlled throughout. Zero adherence to rules and there is no patrolling to catch or at least deter the culprits. It’s an open invitation to accidents.

  12. Sabareeshan C.K says:

    The expressway appears to have been inaugurated in a hurry perhaps to gain some advantage at the assembly elections in Karnataka, which eventually bombed. Basic safety aspects are missing such as:
    1. Access control,
    2. High way patrol
    3. Ambulance
    4. Proper exits with toll gates
    5. Rain water draining system
    The bittle necks at both ends leave too much to be desired

  13. Mahesha Anand says:

    All the pleasure of highway travel simply vanishes by the sight of piled up vehicles at the entry and exit points…. Simply a bottle neck could have been avoided if this project was conceived and carried out by competent designers.

  14. Lunchave Swarga,Mosave Kailasa , Modiye Shiva! says:

    Hello Idiots Mandar dixit and Ashok
    This authotr Prasad says:”Recently, I saw a video titled “China’s mind-bending mega bridge: A magical journey on the world’s most complex overpass.” It is worth watching a million times.”
    You must be rally ashamed about your lack of brain cells and your inability to understand what the above means. You see, your Indian students who pay smugglers to travel on dighies on the English Channel, to claim asylum, illegal ofcoiurse, but they fo not want to pay thev university fees themselves, but want England to pay.
    This is the pathetic state of Indians, and youe rotten intervention shows, you are of the same category. As such is thec state of you dishonest Indians, how can you expect your engineers born in your country, having comptence , expertise and the honesty tpo design and implement a top class expressway?
    Bow your heads in utter shame.
    Hey dixit, is that your name, I do not have any frustrations, as I live in a Western country, which has values unlike India, and whose citizens have moral fibres in their bodies, unlke you 2 scoundrels.

  15. Never Presto Questo says:

    HeyMandar dixit
    “dixit” means a scholar and you show your plainstupidity and massive ignorance, and like your felklow Indians totally corrupt and morally bankrupt.

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