Bengaluru: The Karnataka cabinet has approved the construction of a 6.72-kilometre-long steel flyover—touted to be the longest in the country—from Basaveshwara Circle to Hebbal, to connect Kempegowda International Airport and other areas of the city.
The Rs.1,791 crore project, which is expected to be completed within 24 months, will be executed by Mumbai-based engineering and construction company Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T) in a joint venture with Nagarjuna Ltd (formerly Nagarjuna Construction Co. Ltd), Hyderabad.
The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) will supervise the project.
Though the project will ease traffic in one of the city’s busiest roads, which sees over 2.68 lakh vehicles per day, it will cost the city 812 trees.
BDA commissioner Rajkumar Khatri said that the construction of the bridge will cause only minimal traffic hindrance. Never-ending road work and delayed completion has reduced average speeds to around 13 kmph in the city, and the dust emanating from such constructions has made life difficult for two-wheelers and pedestrians.
“Construction of steel flyover work can be completed faster than the conventional method of using cement concrete, as steel is monolithic and is available in standard size,” according to the cabinet-approved document on the project.
BDA will have to acquire 1 acre and 0.7 gunta (one gunta equals 120 square yards) for the project, Khatri said.
Khatri said that the civic body will plant 60,000 saplings in various areas of the city to compensate for the loss of trees.
Green activist Vinay Sreenivasa of Hasiru Usiru, a Bengaluru-based environmental group, is not convinced. He says that the government could have increased the number of buses and the proposed steel bridge is not part of the city’s master plan.
Known earlier as the garden city, rapid and unplanned expansion has caused heavy loss of green cover in recent years, bringing down the air quality and increasing average temperatures.
Sreenivasa pegs the number of trees lost over road and metro projects at around 10,000 in recent years.
The issue of felling full-grown trees has led to a face-off between green activists and civic authorities in which the former claims that trees are the first victims when a state decides to commit to development.
For instance, in Delhi, over a lakh trees were cut for the metro railway project, while in Bengaluru 2,000 have been felled so far, Mint reported on 27 September.