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View Poll Results: Do you support development of roads by cutting down trees?
Yes 9 13.24%
No 12 17.65%
Yes, but the new roads must be planted with trees once more 47 69.12%
Voters: 68. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 21st March 2011, 15:55   #1
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Default Highway expansion - At what cost?

Dear Bhpians,

We are witnessing a major expansion spree on our highways and other city roads. I for one, have been fortunate in witnessing an amazing turn-around of a city and a highway. The city is Coimbatore which off late has seen a huge makeover thanks to a few political parties who want to capture vitals seats in this region. The highway is NH 47 which is part of the Golden Quadrilateral.

As a motor-enthusiast, I definitely welcome this development with a wide smile but then the "nature lover" part of me is crying hard and off late, very loudly.

Coimbatore had beautiful roads with trees on both sides. There was shade everywhere and the place was much cooler. Yes, the traffic used to snarl during this period but the city was cooler in a way. During the past one year, most of the major roads in CBE has been expanded to 6 lanes at the cost of the trees. Ok, I have to be honest here that I am loving these new roads!! Driving has become a pleasure in the city. How many cities in our country can actually boast something like that? People do say the place is crowded, but when you compare it to other cities, I would say CBE has absolutely no traffic jams!!

Now comes the highway. The NH 47 is the most important gateway to Kerala and hence is a very busy highway. Till recently the highway expansion has been only upto Avinashi (a town near CBE) from Chennai/Salem. Now the stretch of highway from CBE to Palghat is under expansion. This particular stretch of highway (about 50 km) I would term as one of the most beautiful highways we have in South. Almost the whole stretch is covered with trees on both sides making the drive very enjoyable. A drive during the monsoon makes this stretch even more beautiful especially with the Western Ghats forming the background.

I am attaching a few snaps of the highway.Snap 1 is probably how it is going to look after the work has been completed (this is taken from another stretch where work is completed). Snap 2 & 3 are some of the best stretches on the road now. Snap 4 is an area which has been cleared for work.

I am sure you would have witnessed similar cases in other parts of the country too. My question here is, do you support such developments?

I for one do support developments such as this provided the developers also take it upon themselves in planting trees along these new highways immediately so that a few years down the line, we can once again have beautiful roads with amazing scenery.
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Last edited by ajman28 : 21st March 2011 at 16:16.
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Old 21st March 2011, 16:09   #2
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Default Re: Highway expansion - At what cost?

ajman thanks for putting up this thread!

last few years have witness some very nice roads turning into a barren desert kind of feel, yes commuting gets better but the loss of those "trees" is immense!

Many of the trees are very old, even if re-planting happens we wont be around to see in them in full glory. planting of trees maybe an option but how may of them will make it through and survive cause we dont know who will take care of those tress till they are strong.

But whats concerning is the government is keen on "development" they are not bothered about the climate at all, as you have mentioned almost all places are witnessing the increase in temperature, i really dont know where we are heading but presently it seems like while we are trying to solve a issue we are giving birth to another which we may not be able to solve at all!
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Old 21st March 2011, 17:06   #3
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Default Re: Highway expansion - At what cost?

^^^ You are right. It would take a long time for the trees to grow back completely. But it is better than not having them at all. Let us accept here that we do need good roads for a better economy. And better roads without some loss is inevitable. But we have an option to reduce the loss and we should at least work towards it!

The road developers are maintaining a small garden in between the medians. I feel instead of these small bushes which we see, they should plant trees.
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Old 21st March 2011, 17:11   #4
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Default Re: Highway expansion - At what cost?

If we can plant the seed, rest will be taken care of by the nature; and as with our ancestors the buck will be passed on to our successors.
Any major city development and expansion will need to take down trees. There is no way to avoid but we need to make sure we plant one for every one we bring down.
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Old 21st March 2011, 17:18   #5
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Default Re: Highway expansion - At what cost?

^^I was planning to write to NHAI authorities on planting trees where ever the work is completed. presently i dont think they are doing?
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Old 21st March 2011, 17:22   #6
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Default Re: Highway expansion - At what cost?

One should look at the old NH4.

In early 1990's we drove down in our car from Goa to Bangalore. All along the road were massive tamarind trees. The road had shade most of the way and it was a pleasant journey. Now its heat and dust.

I think on major highways where speeds are in the higher levels having trees on the sides is a major safety issue. Unless there are barricades betwee the trees and the road.

In the past we have seen many a vehicles wrapped around trees planted next to highways. With the four laning and stuff I think that is the reason to not have trees by the roadside.
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Old 21st March 2011, 19:50   #7
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Default Re: Highway expansion - At what cost?

All the re-planting promised by municipal corporations is almost always a fraud. These schemes are announced to soften the public resistance to some big project favoring some business establishment. But is the re-planting really done in a well supervised and systematic manner such that the saplings grow into large trees elsewhere? What percentage of replanting is actually a success? Nobody knows!! The saplings are probably left uncared for and die a natural death while the public is fooled into believing the eco-system has been compensated.

Is there a body monitoring re-plantation and its success rates in India?

--Ragul

Last edited by Ragul : 21st March 2011 at 19:51.
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Old 21st March 2011, 20:35   #8
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Default Re: Highway expansion - At what cost?

For high speed roads, its best not to have any trees like that. Just like in racing, in the event that a cars slides off the road, you want either a armco barrier or a plenty of runoff area just like you see in F1.

One of the most dangerous race tracks in the world are the old ones like Monza and Nurburgring because of all the trees.
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Old 21st March 2011, 22:07   #9
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spitfire View Post
I think on major highways where speeds are in the higher levels having trees on the sides is a major safety issue. Unless there are barricades betwee the trees and the road.

In the past we have seen many a vehicles wrapped around trees planted next to highways. With the four laning and stuff I think that is the reason to not have trees by the roadside.
Ah! This could be a valid reason for cutting down the trees. But how about planting them along the bye-lane? The speed limits are way lower on these lanes.

Then comes the cities. Why can't they plant trees with narrow trunks in the middle? They anyway make a nice thick barrier as a median!

A construction engineer had once mentioned that trees are one of the main reasons for the roads getting damaged. Is this true?
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Old 22nd March 2011, 10:23   #10
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Default Re: Highway expansion - At what cost?

Very true, always have read in paper that these many saplings were planted etc but not sure if they were really and how many of them did make it....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragul View Post
All the re-planting promised by municipal corporations is almost always a fraud. These schemes are announced to soften the public resistance to some big project favoring some business establishment. But is the re-planting really done in a well supervised and systematic manner such that the saplings grow into large trees elsewhere? What percentage of replanting is actually a success? Nobody knows!! The saplings are probably left uncared for and die a natural death while the public is fooled into believing the eco-system has been compensated.

Is there a body monitoring re-plantation and its success rates in India?

--Ragul
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Old 22nd March 2011, 13:38   #11
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Default Re: Highway expansion - At what cost?

If we are to have our roads widened, this cannot be done without sacrificing some trees - sad as I am to say that.

But whenever a new road is being built or an old one widened, the authorities need to plan proper barricades, sufficient space for future expansion, include slipways and service areas and proper Exits so that traffic coming off the main highway can enter into the smaller towns and villages en route etc.
All highways should be fenced off completely to obviate stray pedestrians, animals, cyclists, small mopeds, tractors and the like. These should be confined to the slipways only, or at designated over bridge type crossings only.
New trees must certainly be planted alongside the highways but as another member said, these have to be planted after the barricades.
An example that springs to mind is the Bangalore - Chennai highway which seems to have taken several of these points into consideration including the simple method of bypassing towns like Krishnagiri, Vellore and the like, which helps point to point travellers in maintaining a higher average speed on that highway. In contrast, our Bangalore-Mysore highway is a complete mess - especially because it cuts right through towns like Bidadi, Ramnagara, Channapatna, Maddur, Mandya and the like - in consequence the speeds are considerably cut down despite the overall good road quality.

Last edited by shankar.balan : 22nd March 2011 at 13:42.
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Old 22nd March 2011, 13:55   #12
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Default Re: Highway expansion - At what cost?

Also, the practice of putting shrubs/hedges/trees between two sets of lanes can be dodgy. At nigh you get weird shadows on the other side. Another, practice to be frowned upon is putting flower pots or planting trees on crossroads. They tend to spoil visibility across the cross road. This is worrisome in small islands. big islands are fine.
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Old 22nd March 2011, 17:41   #13
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Default Re: Highway expansion - At what cost?

Not to mention large branches fallen in the middle of the road during a tornado. Or worse on your car when you are driving.
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Old 22nd March 2011, 20:51   #14
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Default Re: Highway expansion - At what cost?

Good roads are the basic need for a place to develop, and sacrificing some trees is the price we have to pay. I am all for highway expansion.

Last year, I did a drive from Thrissur (Kerala) to Bangalore, and I was so amazed to see the roads from Coimbatore and beyond. Thrissur to Kerala border was the typical old school highway. And don't expect a leisure drive though. I had to watch for people running across, and then those limited stop private buses . But once in Tamilnadu, it was a different story altogether. Infact I got a bit too excited seeing such good roads in India.

Proper fencing is so important for high-speed highways, and also some kind of lane awareness. Superslow trucks in the right lane is a common sight in our expressways.
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Old 23rd March 2011, 09:51   #15
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Default Re: Highway expansion - At what cost?

The need of the hour is a hybrid solution. Segregating empty vast-expanse landscape (type 1) and those which are thickly populated (type 2), when I say populated (it includes vegetation/hills/flora/fauna/water-bodies) 4L for the former and high speed elevated rail for the latter.

Example:

TN is mainly flat geographically. I have driven to CBE to the west and Tirunelveli to the south on the NHs. Expansion is easy and there is lot of land around for cultivation/habitation and there is scope for alternate replinishment for all forms of existence. This is very unlike in KL - right from the borders and thru the length of the state. Houses/thick-vegetation/flora-n-fauna/hills/streams/ponds/backwaters - its all there in very close proximity. More of 4-laning there would do huge damage I feel and my heart goes out. Max from Walayar to Kochi - 4 laning is ok. No more should be done. The Palakkad-Malappuram-Kozhikkode stretch is so beautiful as of today. Leave it alone. They suffice the local needs. Its not meant for rare visitors with their lavish cars to go at high speeds just during Onam/Eid/Xmas. Just have high-speed elevated pt-to-pt trains for a state such as KL and pockets of high-density areas of a state. Treat the whole of KL as a city which is choc-o-bloc (treating vegetation similar to human life form.)

Others examples could be coastal KA (type 2) and mind you not interior KA or AP (type 1). Interior states (type 1). NE states (type 2) and states including Himalayan ranges (type 2) - but then rail links here would be a night mare too but if China can make it in Tibet so can we. Coastal states can use sea-ways as well. Then ofcourse there should be easy inter-modal switch/connectivity e.g Take the car till Walayar - park it. Take the elevated rail to your destination. Hmmm... its cumbersome and more over irctc should provide you a rail ticket!!! But we should be ditching the individuals like in this forum for whom the drive is more of a pleasure than a need and driving to home towns is fun. If we purely take care of necessity and quick movement of home-needs-supplies / people moving for business/work then hybrid systems would work.
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