Eradication of Black Spots by National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) Will Add More Black Spots & Motorists Woes? Drop Vehicular Overpass (VOP), Instead Construct an Elevated National Highway’- Members of Society For Forest, Environment and Climate Change, Mangaluru
Mangaluru: Members of The Society for Forest, Environment and Climate Change, Mangaluru, during a press meet demanded construction of an elevated highway between Kuntikana and Pumpwell on Elevated highway instead of the underpass for NH 66 between Nanthoor and KPT Society secretary Benedict C. Fernandes said that the proposed vehicular underpasses on NH 66 at Nanthoor and KPT junctions would not eliminate the already identified black spots; instead they may increase more Black Spots and the number of accidents. “The society has written to the chief secretary, state government, minister of road transport and highways, officers of NHAI, the Dakshina Kannada DC, the city police commissioner and the Mangaluru City Corporation commissioner among others” added Fernandes.
“However, The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) which has already issued a work order for VUP at KPT junction, claims the underpasses would decongest the highway of vehicular traffic, which would not be true. With the elevated highway between Kuntikana and Pumpwell estimated to cost around Rs 200 crore, the city traffic and the highway traffic get segregated thereby eliminating vehicular congestion significantly and addressing the black spots’ said Fernandes..
He further said, “The VOP will not help in easing traffic congestion, but will create more black spots. An elevated national highway, if built with appropriate exits to merge with NH-75 and NH-169, will help segregate the traffic bound for the city and the national highway. A work agreement was issued by NHAI to build a VOP at KPT Mangalore to The Trinity Group, Hubli, at a cost of Rs 26.6 crore. This work agreement is signed to remove black spots of traffic congestion and blockage of traffic on NH-66 from Surathkal towards Kerala, and Airport Road towards Mangaluru city”.
“The removal of black spots will be undertaken by digging the existing highway to a depth of 3.5 m from KPT Junction. The first phase consists of digging up an existing NH from KPT to Padua High School. At the school, the existing NH will not be touched. Instead, vehicles can either take the NH-66 and join the service road (to be constructed) to proceed to Kulashekar or continue moving on NH-66 towards Kerala. Service roads will be built on both sides of NH-66 from KPT to Padua High School. At present, traffic from Surathkal, especially huge tanker trucks, moves on NH-66 up to Nanthoor. They take a left turn and move via flyover at Kaikamba towards Bengaluru. After the completion of the VOP, traffic bound for Bengaluru has to move on the service road at Padua High School, and take a left turn to Kulshekar to proceed further”
” The incoming traffic from Bengaluru via NH-75 at present usually moves via Kulshekar and takes a right turn at Nanthoor to join the existing NH-66. Once the VOP is in place, traffic has to come to Kulshekar and take a right turn on top of Nanthoor VOP. “Traffic congestion will continue on the VOP at Nanthoor,” Benedict said, adding there could be problems of water logging at KPT and Nanthoor due to the digging of NH by 3.5 metres. Several organisations have been demanding a walk-through of the project as they fear the anomalies of the Pumpwell flyover could be repeated. But the request was not heeded. One more black spot gets created at Padavu Junction where Sharabath Katte and Kadri Park roads join NH66″ added Benedict.
Also speaking at the press meet, Bhuvan Devadiga, PRO of the society member, expressed apprehension that the proposed VOPs could become another Kankanady Pumpwell with flooding and other such issues. He said though the society had urged the NHAI to go for an elevated highway, the authority cited financial constraints to change the plan, he said. Governments should not hesitate to spend on infrastructure in Mangaluru as it was the second highest revenue generation centre in the State”.
Another Society member Dilip Vas Naik said the city administration does not have a master plan for traffic management following which the number of accidents was increasing Jeeth Milan Roche, a Society member and Green Activist was also present during the press meet.