A better ride between Bangalore and Mysore
Driving on the Bangalore-Mysore highway frequently, this blogger couldn’t help but notice why modernising the highway has not reduced travel times by as much as it could have. The dream of a 90 minute drive largely remains elusive, not least because getting out of Bangalore city limits has become a painful experience.
Like in most parts of the country, the highway bisects the towns and villages en route, becoming the “main road” in places like Maddur and Mandya, with commercial establishments, schools, offices and busy traffic intersections. This means that the highway traffic has to inevitably slow down to the speed of the local town traffic until it exits the town limits, before picking up speed again. And because drivers might not slow down in time, traffic police have created enormous road humps and placed double barricades outside the town/village limits, ensuring that you must slow down to nearly zero speed before every town and village along the way. It is not uncommon to see people, bicycles, carts and other vehicles attempt to cross the highway, raising the risk of accidents.
Obviously, this causes highway traffic to slowdown and accidents to increase—when people try to avoid the humps, or when they crash into the barricades especially at night.
How might things be improved? The first way, adopted by many countries around the world, involves making the highway bypass towns and villages by skirting around them or following a different route altogether. The problem is: given how complex and time-consuming land acquisition has become, especially in Karnataka, this is unlikely to work. The travails of the NICE road, part of the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor, indicate how fraught re-routing is.
The second way might be to bypass the towns and villages vertically. In other words, build flyovers across the stretch of the highway that passes through town and village limits. This does not require new land to be acquired. In fact, this might be a faster and cost-effective way to modernise India’s highway infrastructure.