Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Golden Quadrilateral

The Golden Quadrilateral Indias ambitious road plan - well, nothing great - all it does is 4 lane the existing roads between the 4 metros. That 60 years after independence (NHAI's progress map) we are still evaluating whether we need good roads is a sad story in itself. If you think 4 laning is a not a big deal, check out the state highways even as of date. 2 lanes, 2 directions, bad roads, bad signage, confusion and chaos at villages and you know what our "national highways" were (and many still are).

I have written about the GQ before. The GQ is a great drive as compared to any Indian road (save the few hundred kms of access controlled expressways that exist), but one of the fundamental problems for the villages that it passes through is that, while it is the GQ for you and me, it is the local road for the villagers. Nothing wrong with that either, except that if you are a villager and you want to cross the road to buy, say, milk, you have to take a detour until a "U" turn is available which could be some kilometers away. So, what do you do? You make your own way.

Medians are broken (between Chennai and Bangalore, they are countless), fences are cut, sawn, removed and people have created their own crossings at all points. So, as you are zipping along, there is someone who ambles across the road in a trance and you better be alert. Or there is a protuding nose of a vehicle right across the road. There are small cuts enough for a two wheeler to pass. Or, which is worse, there are vehicles (bicycles and bullock carts upto trucks - all of them) coming in the opposite direction and especially on the Chennai Bangalore stretch - (Ambur, Vellore) - they come at you on the rightmost lane - the "fastest" lane. It helps that traffic in these sections is sparse, otherwise, the GQ, without people following rules is a nightmare. Imagine how bad it gets at dusk and night.

Another point is that these roads are tolled. Now if its a free service, you cant crib. But having paid the toll, surely these things can be taken care of. I am sure we can provide bypasses, underpasses for villagers or take the road above villages where there is high density of population.

As population increases, will the GQ stay the GQ or will it become like the Hosur road (incidentally part of the GQ, but perhaps the worst road in India at this point) ?

1 comment:

Ahmed said...

I have faced the problem of vehicles coming in opposite direction very often on bangalore-chennai route. I wonder what the highway patrol is for ? I do see them on the highway.