Defending the need for whitetopping on a 2-km stretch of the MG Road in Bengaluru, civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) chief Tushar Giri Nath said the work order cannot be withdrawn. He added that the BBMP will continue to whitetop the stretch despite criticism.
Whitetopping, which is considered to be costlier than asphalting roads, is a process where the normal black-top roads or the bitumen asphalted roads are cleared and a layer of concrete is laid. Concrete is considered to be long-lasting and is believed to prevent the formation of potholes.
The whitetopping of the MG Road stretch between Trinity Circle and Mahatma Gandhi Circle is set to cost ₹44 crore.
Nath said, “People have the right to criticise and we cannot stop them from doing so. As far as the whitetopping works are concerned, we will be going ahead with the work for the roads marked for whitetopping, including the stretch on MG Road.”
He added, “The whitetopping of roads is a long-term plan and it boosts the longevity of roads without the need for fixing them frequently. Work on the other road stretches that have been identified for whitetopping according to the recommendations given by senior engineer Jodihal’s report are also in line.”
Why are citizens opposed to whitetopping MG Road
Several citizens expressed concerns about whitetopping MG Road, which is already in a good condition. There is also fear that whitetopping in the Central Business District area could lead to traffic gridlocks, given that Kamaraj Road is already shut down due to the ongoing Metro work.
What experts say about whitetopping MG Road
Satya Arikutharam, an independent mobility expert said, “When civic agencies have not yet mapped their assets on what lies underneath the road, going for an expensive concrete pavement will prove to be counterproductive. Even more so since the existing road (MG Road stretch) still has a useful life left.”
He added, “This is where Bengaluru sorely misses the existence of the BMLTA (Bengaluru Metropolitan Land Transport Authority) and thus it exposes the lack of coordination among civic agencies and the arbitrary conception of projects. Moreover, concrete roads contribute to creating impervious surfaces and urban heat islands, while the focus should be on de-emphasising private vehicle travel and promotion of active mobility. The MG Road is soon going to be a big interchange for the Metro and therefore its precincts require a placemaking perspective and the concrete road doesn’t fit in.”
The other roads in Bengaluru that will be whitopped
The Karnataka government on January 9 had issued an order approving the BBMP’s request to whitetop proposed roads to fix road infrastructure issues in Bengaluru.
The government had approved whitetopping works worth Rs 800 crore for a total of 64 km of road stretches in Bengaluru.
The BBMP has proposed the whitetopping of Tannery Road, Mosque Road, D J Halli Main Road, Hennur 80 feet Road, CBI Road, Dinnur Main Road, Malleswarama 8th Main Road, Holiday Village Road (near Kanakapura Road), Bull Temple Road among others.
Whitetopping the Hennur Bagalur Road from Hennur Railway Cross to Bagalur Cross Road is set to incur the highest expenditure of ₹86 crore.
Whitetopping works of 145 km road network in Bengaluru has already been completed in the first and second phases under the Urban Development Plan of 2016-17 and whitetopping works of 4.8-km-long road has been carried out under the Amrita Urban Development in 2022-23.