BANGALORE, September 25: “Watch out… my wheel,” yelled a differently-abled motorist riding a motorised tri-wheeler as I manoeuvred my car in the bumper-to-bumper traffic on Bannerghatta Road near Dairy Circle. “I have to be alert on this road to keep vehicles at bay, otherwise cars will damage the wheels of my gaadi,” he said, smiling.
His demeanour was refreshing, particularly because most others were either grumpy or outright angry — no wonder they honked non-stop for no particular reason except perhaps to let out the frustration at the snail’s pace. By then we had been on that stretch for nearly 50 minutes, crawling over one pothole to another along with the other vehicles.
At 6 p.m. our Special Photographer K. Bhagya Prakash and I had started off from Vidhana Soudha amid a drizzle on the ride to Arakere — a good 13-km drive ahead of us. Hours earlier, when I consulted S. Girisha, a software engineer and a daily commuter on that route, he had caustically suggested: “Try driving after 6 p.m., you will understand my daily problem.”
Not long after, we started pitying him for his daily travel. After navigating through slow-moving traffic on Infantry Road, Cubbon Road and Brigade Road, the traffic at the Johnson Market junction stopped us for a while. We had to similarly halt a few minutes at the next two junctions on Hosur Road.
For a commuter using Bannerghatta Road from the central business district, travails start from Adugodi where the road is not only narrow but also scarred by potholes. Making matters worse, there is hardly any street lighting on this stretch. In 41 minutes, we had travelled 6 km and thought we could disprove Mr. Girisha’s claim. For, he had told us that it would take between one and a half to two hours to complete the stretch.
While the drive through the wider stretch a little beyond Dairy Circle was relatively smooth, the gaps in the median prove to be obstacles, bringing traffic to a halt. “These medians cause traffic jams all across the stretch. Some can be closed by banning right turns that can ease traffic,” N.V. Vijay Kumar, a regular user, told us.
We found five such gaps in the median between Dairy Circle and Jayadeva Institute of Cardio Vascular Sciences and Research (JICVSR). Similarly, there are two gaps between the JICVSR and the ring road junction.
As motorists try to take a U-turn or a right turn or allow traffic to join the Bannerghatta Road in these gaps, traffic piles up. Tempers flare up as frustrated motorists, in a hurry to reach home after a hectic day’s work, bicker with each other while looking for gaps to manoeuvre their vehicles.
Beyond the Ring Road at Bilekahalli, several smaller roads join the Bannerghatta Road bringing in many vehicles as several residential areas adjoin the road till Arakere. The quality of the road is abysmal in this stretch as traffic slows down again with motorists trying to navigate through the craters.
Also, we found most motorists avoid the left of the road due to poor surface quality. It reminded us of the earlier stretch at Adugodi.
Finally at 7.24 p.m. when we reached Arakere, we wondered how patients would reached the hospital in time. For, besides Jayadeva, Bannerghatta Road has Fortis Hospital and Apollo Hospital — opposite the Indian Institute of Management campus.
A new movie in a mall at Hulimavu could throw traffic out of gear, we were told. Several motorists later told us we were lucky to make it to Arakere quicker than what they did every other day.