Getting to Kempegowda international airport from the city will get quicker, easier and cheaper; a toll-free road will be commissioned in the next couple of days and will be ready for use in eight months. The new road will help fliers from Whitefield and Electronic City and take the load off the existing one, which often gets blocked due to events like Aero India.
Nine years after the idea was first mooted, Bengalureans are finally going to get two new alternative routes to get to Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), and that too, toll-free. Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) has decided to open two more gates to public roads — one on the southwest side (connecting the Nagavara-Hennur Road) and the other on the west-side (Bettakote road that connects Budigere-Hosakote-Whitefield and Chandapura-Electronics City). The ground work is done and the work is set to start in the next few days.
Officials of the Public Works Department (PWD) say they are, in fact, in a hurry in view of the forthcoming Aero India Show that begins on February 14. Initially, the new roads may be opened for VVIP movement.
Confirming this, principal secretary (PWD) M Lakshminarayana said the tendering process was underway and they had already identified the lowest bidder, and the work would commence soon. Sources said that the PWD will begin with widening and improvement of Jala-Mylanahalli road from Mylanahalli to south-west corner junction of KIAL boundary in Devanahalli taluk.
Another road to be widened is the approach road from state highway 104 (cargo road) to KIAL boundary at east side in Devanahalli taluk. The proposal one consisting of widening of existing two-lane road with a median, connecting south-west compound of KIAL from Mylanahalli via Chikkanahalli, Begur in Benglauru north taluk for a length of 1.6 km.
The second proposal is of constructing a four-lane road for a cargo entry to KIAL’s east compound at Bettakote, Devanahalli taluk. The total proposed length of roads is 2 km and the project would cost Rs 11.35 crore. The total land acquired for the work is 16 acres and 39 guntas. The land acquisition process has been made by KIADB authorities and the payment of compensation for the acquired properties is in process. “We have to undertake a few property acquisition and the same has been awarded to Karnataka industries area development board. The road-widening and development work and also the acquisition work will be undertaken simultaneously,”
Lakshminarayana added. Meanwhile, the entire project is funded by industries development department and PWD department is just an executing agency. The KIADB has been asked to take up land acquisition work. It will cost around Rs 21 crore while the project cost is around Rs 9 crore.
THE WHITEFIELD LINK
Meanwhile, KJ George, Bangalore Development Minister, directed the BBMP, BDA and PWD officials to expedite work related to providing alternative road link to the airport. Another proposal providing link from Whitefield to airport via Budigere is also consideration, said George. “The three works including Mylanahalli-Begur and Jala-Mylanahalli and a link from Whitefield to Airport via Budigere has to be speeded up,” he told officials.
The road works have been taken up following clearance from Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju. In a letter to Bengaluru (Central) MP PC Mohan, the minister said BIAL is actively pursuing the matter with the state government. While the BIAL will take care of the construction of the road within the boundary wall, state PWD will be in charge of implementing the approach road.
Since the airport has only one entrance – from the Bengaluru-Hyderabad highway, the peak hour figure daily of 23,799 PCUs (passenger car unit) pass through the Hebbal junction, which has become a permanent bottleneck. The second entrance will greatly help people coming from the south-east, Whitefield and east Bengaluru side as it will cut the distance to a great extent as well as avoid the Hebbal Junction.
Mohan told media that the state should accord top priority to the alternative roads instead of going for the expensive steel flyover.
AN OLD PROJECT
The road work to connect KIAL had already begun in 2008-09, but was shelved midway after Rs 122 crore was spent on it. In fact, the road was closed following pressure from politicians and the contractors’ lobby that wanted all traffic to the airport to be routed via Bellary Road (toll road). Before this road was taken for the development, the then infrastructure secretary VP Baligar (in 2008) had already outlined the six-lane elevated road project on NH-7. He had also announced that the government was working on six different approach roads to the airport. The road via Bagalur was high also on the agenda. In 2009, Subramanya had said the airport authorities had agreed to open an additional gate near the cargo section to help reduce traffic congestion on the KIAL Road. Even though the BBMP had no jurisdiction beyond Bagalur, the state government accorded permission to the civic agency to develop the toll-free road. But the project was suddenly abandoned in 2010.
THE GOOD NEWS
The Mylanahalli road will link the Outer Ring Road via Nagavara or Hennur roads, which will be a boon for all those commuters looking to avoid the busy Devanahalli road. Moreover, this will be a toll-free road. Currently, Hennur road is a wide one while the Nagavara-Thanisandra road is being widened. Recently, the BBMP had called for tenders to construct an underpass at the Rashtrotthana signal to ease traffic here.
The Bettakote road will be a boon for those travelling to the airport from south-east Bengaluru, especially from Electronics City, as this road connects the tech corridor via Budigere, Whitefield and Chandapura, avoiding major traffic bottlenecks.
GEORGE IS DETERMINED
Meanwhile, Minister KJ George said the state government was committed to constructing the steel flyover towards the airport road and would start the work as soon as it gets the green signal from the National Green Tribunal (NGT). Currently, the steel flyover has been stayed by the NGT as it has postponed the next hearing to January 30. Speaking at a skywalk inauguration on Tuesday, George made a scathing attack against protesters, saying the government did not fear those 1,000-2,000 people who were protesting against the flyover project as they were not those who would use the steel flyover. Without naming Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, George said: “We know very well that a former ABIDE vice-chairman is getting around a few people to protest as he or his men would not understand the gravity of traffic problems on the airport road as he flies between HAL airport and KIA in his private aircraft. We are sure of getting the NGT verdict in favour to resume our work.”
Credits Bangalore Mirror