5k trees, BRTS, whitetopped road stand in way of ORR-KIA Metro work

BMRCL’s work on Outer Ring Road-Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) Metro corridor could disrupt some infra projects and affect green cover on the stretch. While 4,789 trees between Central Silk Board and KIA face threat, the dedicated bus lane and cycle track between Central Silk Board and KR Puram and the recently whitetopped KR Puram-Hebbal section too could come in the way of Metro work.

While BMRCL on Monday issued a work order for ORR Metro (Central Silk Board-KR Puram), it is likely to open KIA Metro (KR Puram-KIA) tenders by next month. Sources said 4,789 trees (1,248 for ORR Metro and 3,541 for KIA Metro) will be affected.

BMRCL has already marked trees on ORR, mostly small ones on medians, for removal. However, it is yet to get permission from the Palike’s forest division for the same. Bus Priority Lane (BPL), a dedicated lane for BMTC buses launched in November 15, 2019 between KR Puram and Silk Board, is likely to be another casualty. Officials said the Metro corridor will run on the median along ORR, which was earlier designed for the Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS).

Though BMRCL has been maintaining that Bus Priority Lane will be retained, it is likely to be affected since the width of the main carriageway will also reduce once Metro work begins. This is also likely to affect the pop-up bicycle lane, mainly on the service road. BBMP along with DULT has provided a cycle lane of two-metre width from KR Puram to Mahadevapura (4km) and was planning to extend it till Central Silk Board.

Metro work will also damage the cement concrete road on ORR. In 2017, BBMP began whitetopping from KR Puram to Hebbal and the work is almost complete. However, BMRCL will have to break the concrete road to build viaducts and stations. BBMP has spent around Rs 100 crore on the whitetopping.

“During construction work, we will need 4.5m width on both sides of the median. Vehicular traffic on around 9m (width) of the ORR will be affected. So, it will be difficult to retain the BPL in most areas. Cycle lanes in some places will also be affected. But we will take a final decision after consultation with traffic police, BBMP and BMTC,” said a senior BMRCL official.

“We have not got permission to cut trees along the ORR-KIA Metro corridor and the process will take at least three-six months. Small portions near medians and service road of the white-topped stretch between KR Puram and Hebbal will be affected, but we will restore it after completion of work,” he added.

Brace for traffic chaos on ORR

While BMRCL has set a 2025-2026 deadline for the ORR-KIA Metro, many regular road users fear congestion on the stretch will become worse in the next few years. BMRCL officials said work on ORR Metro will begin in 45 days, followed by the KIA Metro. Many ORR users said Metro is inevitable and urged to expedite work during the pandemic, when most offices are closed due to work-from-home.

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