Why go round a building when you can go through it?
That’s one of the solutions to India’s road infrastructure challenges according to Director General of Road Development and Special Secretary of the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) C Kandasamy.
With land at a premium in India, Kandasamy has suggested that several floors be set aside in high-rise buildings at congested junctions to allow roads and highways to be built through them, as has been done at the Gate Tower Building in Osaka, Japan.
At the Gate Tower Building, engineers have created a double core construction for the 16-level office building, with a circular cross section, which allows the Umeda Exit of the Ikeda Route of the Hanshin Expressway system to pass between the fifth and seventh floors.
The highway is the tenant of those floors and actually pays rent. The lift even passes through the floors without stopping. The motorway does not make contact with the building and it passes through as a bridge, held up by supports next to the building.
The main roads in India are under huge pressure and in great need of modernization in order to handle the increased requirements of the Indian economy. In addition to maintenance, the expansion of the network and widening of existing roads is becoming increasingly important. This would then enable the roads to handle increased traffic and allow for a corresponding increase in the average speed on India’s roads.
Other solutions proposed by Kandasamy include the acquisition of lands and buildings located on the bell mouth of junctions to create clover-leaf structures. Within the loops of these new layouts, apartment complexes, shopping malls, multi-tier parking areas and other utilities could then be built.
This, he said, will bring more investors into the realty sector, while reducing congestion at junctions. It will also reduce pollution and the cost of land acquisition and help promote inclusive growth with those affected by the development then resettled at the junction itself.
A recent KPMG report said that India’s road network logistics and transportation bottlenecks hinder its GDP growth by one to two per cent (US$16 billion – US$32 billion). Based on India’s 2010 per capita income basis, this is equivalent to a loss of about 10 million new jobs every year.