Despite new flyovers, traffic congestion is here to stay

 thehindu.com  10/14/2019 18:08:30 

A new flyover is ready for inauguration near Biodiversity Junction. The flyover in the western part of the city is expected to speed up the flow of traffic from Hi-Tec City and Mindspace Junction towards Raidurg and Toli Chowki area. It will be of limited use. Only the traffic going towards those two areas will flow freely. What about the traffic going towards Gachibowli? It will have to stop at the signal. Then the traffic flowing towards Toli Chowki from Gachibowli will also have to stop at the signal, says Ramulu, who drives a cab in the IT Corridor.

The flyover will create the same problem that we witnessed with the Gachibowli flyover. Sometimes, it takes about three minutes to clear the traffic coming from Narsingi side at the Gachibowli Junction. The pile-up affects the flow of traffic in all directions, says a traffic official at Raidurgam.

A 2015 study estimated that some of the arterial roads have a traffic volume of 1,50,000 PCU (passenger car units) per day in Hyderabad and the number is expected to go up.

A few kilometres away is the Green Hills Road skirting the IDL Lake that slices through the traffic in Kukatpally area and brings it near the KPHB Colony. But once the vehicles reach the area, a badly damaged road greets them near the flyover. There are no traffic signs. One wrong turn can add five kilometres to the drive. Oh! It is easy. The vehicles have to go ahead and take a left turn to go towards Hi-Tech City Station or take a right turn to go towards JNTU, says A. Chandra Sekhar, a traffic police official in the Kukatpally area. He goes on to add that the road that passes under the railway track is meant for water and not traffic. They are developing a new underpass for allowing traffic to pass seamlessly. The underpass we are using now is meant for water, and that is the reason traffic gets blocked whenever there is rain, the police official informs.

Missing traffic signs

Instead of going towards the Hi-Tec City, if the commuter tries to go towards JNTU, missing traffic signs turn the drive into a nightmare of hits and misses. The only signs on the road have been put up by two malls. If the driver keeps to the left, he/she will land up in another mall instead of the one he/she plans to go to. The result: Road-users are forced to switch lanes at high speed without caring for their safety. A 2018 study on urban road traffic congestion in Hyderabad cites the role of lane indiscipline for accidents and traffic chaos. Another major cause for traffic congestion is improper lane management which leads to road accidents and in some cases, mostly at railway crossings, drivers do not follow the lane system that leads to traffic congestion, says the study. The other factors for road congestion cited in the study include: illegal parking, disobeying traffic rules, seasonal factors (like rain), pavement failures, festival and occasional congestion, accidents and encroachment of footpath. This is one of the busiest commercial areas with several shops that spill onto the road. We are now trying to develop footpaths so that the traffic flow is not affected, says a traffic official in Kukatpally where Rythu Bazaar spills over to the main road and onto the other side.

As construction activity goes on at a breathtaking pace on flyovers, underpasses and footpaths, the flow of traffic remains agonisingly slow. On Monday at 5.20 p.m., the traffic between JNTU and Biodiversity Park was moving at a 17.2 km per hour and by 7 p.m., it was down to 13.58 kmph. Incidentally, the live traffic map shows a detour via Chandanagar and University of Hyderabad as an option to save commuting time.

The maps show a travel time of 63 minutes for the 19.2 km commute between Biodiversity Junction and JNTU metro station.

Is the travel time likely to come down? Thats the big question that IT workers have for city planners and traffic officials.

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