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18-lane autobahn to BIA - isn't it clearly an overkill?

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Infrastructure

The ride towards Bengaluru International Airport and beyond will soon become a minutes-only affair with work under way to upgrade Bellary Road (NH 7) into an 18-lane autobahn with a high speed rail link (HSRL) embedded in it. The Rs 680-crore upgradation involves a 22.12-km stretch of the road beginning from Hebbal flyover up to Bachchalli railway gate, beyond the Trumpet Interchange leading to the airport. The autobahn will be 65 metres wide and have three-lane service roads on either side of the six-lane highway, besides the nation's first-ever six-lane elevated corridor running along the highway. Work, which began in September 2010, is expected to be completed by May 2013.

"The three-lane service roads have been planned basically to divert local traffic, including buses and non-airport bound traffic, while the signal-free highway and elevated corridor will cater to only airport-bound vehicles," said AK Mathur, chief general manager (technical), NHAI Bangalore.

NHAI authorities also said the upgradation of Bellary Road has provision for vehicle and pedestrian underpasses across the highway to facilitate easy movement for locals.


For the full report in the ToI, click here.

How come Prajagalu missed out on a discussion on this all important development? Some typical comments in the Hasiru Usiru Y-group, indicative of the members' general thinking, are extracted below:

A) certainly looks like the entire annual budget of Karnataka will never be enough. dont know what else is hidden and how the complete project will look like. if all the shops and houses will go and only the building of the Godrej, Prestige , L & T etc or others like them will remain - talk about a plan for total wipeout by restructuring north bangalore through forced urban renewal......

B) There are two things here that would be a joke if the whole thing wasn’t such a tragic waste:
 1) All the expansion in the world won’t make airport travel much quicker.The guys in South and West Bangalore and in SE Bangalore will still have to plow thru one hour of the city before reaching this  elevated strip of paradise. (Net gain may be 20 mins at most)
2) Is everybody on the elevated and ground level six lanes and in the HSRL supposed to be feverishly rushing to the airport ?
3) If the HSRL is used heavily, at least 4 lanes of this 18 lane Eden will become redundant.
4) Most people are anyway turning away from air travel and will soon take to trains if they are made modern and faster. Or are we supposed to add to global warming by burning fuel on these 18 lanes PLUS burning jet fuel with gay abandon ?

 
C) What happens when the traffic from all 18 lanes of this "autobahn" merges into the four lanes after herbal. Isn't that going to become a massive bottleneck?

D) Rational analysis is a lost cause when newspaper reporters are willing to dutifully express their awe at the prospect of "zooming down" this or that new monstrosity. Read any report about a new bridge. The words "zoom" or "fly" will inevitably used, even though few Indians have the contraptions necessary to "zoom" (motor vehicles). It is well established that these highways are of no use to buses, which most Bangaloreans use. Rational participative decision making requires an alert media capable of critical thinking.

E) One question that has always haunted me. why do the 30,000 odd people travelling to and from the airport every day, get so much much more attention and investment, when lakhs of people (commuters) travelling to the city railway stations, bus stands get such a raw deal?? Even the connection between the city bus stand and the railway station is such a nightmare,which can be improved with a tiny fraction of what is being spent on the 'autobahns'.

I too see this as a total overkill. But, apparently, the powers that be can't think of anything less than ultra-mega when it comes to namma Bengaluru. What do the rest of Prajagalu think?

Muralidhar Rao

Comments

Sanjeev's picture

Govt wants sell Karnataka to Pvt fellows, so the so called infra

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As  u mentioned and brough out the things in a crystal clear,  their is no question on how other modes like Railways, Bus Stand, Footpths for public to walk are in a real  bad shape and  more then 10Lakh people travell across the city for work, study, shopping. 

Its very true on KBS & City station, Hebbal, Silkboard flyover, KR Puram connection and surrounding area, 

At KBS, BMTC & City station Public need to do some exercise like climbup or climbdown & walk in sun or rain on footover bridge, do the urinal in stinking even public wants to pay & use,  eat in filthy resturents, struggel to reach the platforms in KBS or BMTC Bus stand or City station.  Reach the KBS or station in jampack roads, no need to complain on jams if u miss the train or bus,  but if passenger misss flight due to traffic jam, it becomes big issue for the city.

My be its to do with : MP's,  MLA's, Governer, Ministers, CM, PM do not use the KBS or SWR, or BMTC,  so for them every thing to BIAL should be worldclass

As these city public can't  bring investment to GoK,  so called investers need to pump the money in Karnataka, so the infrastructure to be built for the investors and not for public interest.

Take the case with NICE road,  state is handing over land in pleanty for NICE company in NICEway, but delaying to hand over the small land for Railways to do the doubling line between Bangalore & Mysore. 

Take the case with L&T building Hotel in BIAL after 4 yrs of  opening the airport,  amount of public who had to check into city hotels because of this & land was given at free of cost to them in BIAL 6 yrs back only, is their any acountability on this,  as city hotels are charging exhorbitantly  for the ordinary rooms in Bangalore &  effects on Traffic & other infrastructure???

So all the Infrastructure are planned for the  investors who can bring black money and convert it into white  and subsequently create artifical demand like diverting all the traffic to BIAL thru' only NH-7 and refuse to  open the eastern side of entry  for the BIAL terminal even though BBMP & BDA has built the 4 lane road  with public money???  or even not utilizing the existing  Railway Track to run train services during peak hrs with  few infrastructure improvements

If the GoK or GoI  impliments simple solutions like above which are in public interest, so called investors will not get the RoI 20% and more, intern showing the public that they manage the things in much better  way will be difficult. Hence we have  HSRL, Autoban, BIAL, NICE, BETAL  projects.

Closing Hebbal Lake or Jakkur flying club,  taking away land from GKVK,  encroaching on Lakes by NHAI are other things which we do't realize the implications in long term., 

 

 

 

idontspam's picture

That exchange on HU mail list

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That exchange on HU mail list pretty much summarizes what we feel about these things. Administrators have collectively lost the right to lead us to anywhere better.

You know what else we missed, the pathetic bunch of advocates who have shamed us by their behaviour over the past week. I have personally lost all respect for them. 

Vasanth's picture

Part of that investment if it comes for Majestic - SBC?

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Thousands of people come to Bangalore everyday by Train and how much they struggle hard to reach Majestic Bus Stand, climb steps to take footover bridge, again get down.. walk down all the way to the dirty and messy underpass, get down the stairs, pass through that mess, climb stairs to reach ground level, again climb stairs to reach that foot over bridge, check for the platform and getdown. Why not a monorail or an airport train like infrastructure to move people from Railway Platform to Majestic Platform.

Most of them are lower poor, lower middle class families. Are these problems do not come to the eyes of MLAs and MPs? It won't since most of these VIPs never have to undergo this pain since they use their Sedans and SUVs. Their problem is reaching a far off place in country or out of country when they use Flights. Their Sedans and SUVs are getting struck in traffic and hence they want to build these autobahns. How safe these autobahns are for our driving style as discussed in this post?

It will just become weekend race track for the youth leading to loss of life and disability. Even the visitors  including foreign visitors have to spend a lot on Taxi. They have to depend on BIA Volvos. Why is Government not considering any sustainable way of moving people?

Srivatsava's picture

Overkill? Is it the road or the reporting?

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Murali-sir,

Lets see the things in perspective. Hosur Road, between silkboard and EC has 14 lanes. Some stretches of Tumkur Road also have 14 lanes. And add to it, the Metro work is already ongoing on Tumkur Road and will soon be on even in the SB-EC road.

Now, if 14 lanes of 5kms and 9 kms is not an overkill (alongside mass train transport), 18 lanes of 3 /6/10 kms length is not much of an overkill. Dont forget, EC (Hosur Rd) and Nelamangala (Tumkur Rd) also have 4 super-fast lanes of NICE ( true expressway, compared to elevated narrow lanes) connected to them.

But if your 'overkill' question was about the media description of the road, then, yes, its clearly too much! Its not as if there will be a 18-lane road from Hebbal to airport (over 25 kms), only a segment of this will have an elevated road which makesit an 18-lane road. It will mostly remain a 10 lanes (as existing), but an expressway barricaded/separeted from the local traffic.

Bellary road has always had higher traffic than Hosur road or Tumkur Road stretches, mainly due to the Yelahanka township. Also, it has been clear that Devanahalli is the next big industrial/residential township, apart from the airport and hence, better connectivity to this region from Bangalore is surely needed for future.

Yes, a rail (suburban or metro) would have been the most appropriate mechanism. But, you cant fault BBMP or NHAI for not bringing the rail link. While the railways has been sleeping, despite many efforts to awaken them to needs of the city, others have chipped to provide an alternative that they can execute.

Now, what is need of the hour is not to question whether this is needed or not. Too much money has already been sunk into the job to raise that question. So, we should only look at how to make the best of this investment.

HU/Vinay have been fans/advocates of BRTS as alternative to Metro. Can we now  push for creation of a bus lane (clearly barricaded/separated from other traffic) all along the surface road? Can we introduce magic-box like solutions exclusinvely for buses at every junction/traffic signal? We should not have tragets like reducing travel time from 40 mins to 15mins. We should target Yelahanka to CBD should be  25% faster and cheaper by bus than any private transport modes.

-Srivatsava V

murali772's picture

Mumbai's answer

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Well, Mumbai can't allow itself to be outdone the newbie Bengaluru, right? So, here's their answer - a 36 km twin-4lane coastal freeway.

Somehow, no Indian city city seems to want to follow the London, Singapore, New York, Paris models of disincentivising the usage of private vehicles.

Muralidhar Rao
kamalakar pandit's picture

18 lane autobahn is not that

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18 lane autobahn is not that useful !! to the local people like us. instead of having 18 lanes autobahn...they could have constructed underpass/flyover/ or combination of both at all the junctions with service roads,that would have been suffecient. Another criminal waste of money is HSRL...Instead Metro can run thru the same strtech covering all the areas enroute.

 

Clive VanBuerle's picture

Expressway on Old Madras Road/Hoskote

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I work at GR Tech Park close to Hope Farm Cross in Whitefiled and travel to home in JVV in Kamanahalli. My return journey takes me between 1:15 minutes and 1:25 minutes on regular days, largely get slow moving/jammed traffic at the ITPL gate stretch, zuri to hodi trafic signal and then at the infamous stretch from the HP Bldg to KR Puram station signal. Besides the time what really drains me out is the stress of slow moving trafic and confusion. I recently was made aware that the Old Madras Road was upgraded to an autobhan type stretch and decided to give it a try on a Friday evening. I took a U-turn at GR tech park at 7:30 p.m, was at the Hope Farm Signal in a minute and waited there for 5 minutes, I took a left towards whitefiled station, I reached the Kadgodi ROB in 3 minutes and with some average driving reached the Old Madras Road Highway by 7:45, I swung left on the service road and then merged onto the new highway....trust me 3 flyovers later and 3 well demarcated stretches later I was at the Garden City Cross/KR Puram lake in about  7 minutes. (yes I pushed the SX4 to 100KMH), from here with a little bottleneck at the KR Puram/Devasandra signal and Tin Factory, i was on the Ring Road within 10 minutes. From there the regular drive (the new flyover at Kalyan Nagar helps) took me another 10 minutes and I was home within 40 minutes. Yes it was a good 11 KM extra but more than the time it was the stress free ride.

I felt ok about the detour, knowing that in the US many people take a detour and a longer drive to use the expressway. This is just my trip report that can be used and as an example of what good roads can do to improve the driving experience. For me though, Friday's drive back home has a new route from now on!

(sorry about not creating a new discussion, but I have been having issues/error msg while trying to start a new blog)

Clive VanBuerle's picture

Expressway on Old Madras Road/Hoskote

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I work at GR Tech Park close to Hope Farm Cross in Whitefiled and travel to home in JVV in Kamanahalli. My return journey takes me between 1:15 minutes and 1:25 minutes on regular days, largely get slow moving/jammed traffic at the ITPL gate stretch, zuri to hodi trafic signal and then at the infamous stretch from the HP Bldg to KR Puram station signal. Besides the time what really drains me out is the stress of slow moving trafic and confusion. I recently was made aware that the Old Madras Road was upgraded to an autobhan type stretch and decided to give it a try on a Friday evening. I took a U-turn at GR tech park at 7:30 p.m, was at the Hope Farm Signal in a minute and waited there for 5 minutes, I took a left towards whitefiled station, I reached the Kadgodi ROB in 3 minutes and with some average driving reached the Old Madras Road Highway by 7:45, I swung left on the service road and then merged onto the new highway....trust me 3 flyovers later and 3 well demarcated stretches later I was at the Garden City Cross/KR Puram lake in about  7 minutes. (yes I pushed the SX4 to 100KMH), from here with a little bottleneck at the KR Puram/Devasandra signal and Tin Factory, i was on the Ring Road within 10 minutes. From there the regular drive (the new flyover at Kalyan Nagar helps) took me another 10 minutes and I was home within 40 minutes. Yes it was a good 11 KM extra but more than the time it was the stress free ride.

I felt ok about the detour, knowing that in the US many people take a detour and a longer drive to use the expressway. This is just my trip report that can be used and as an example of what good roads can do to improve the driving experience. For me though, Friday's drive back home has a new route from now on!

(sorry about not creating a new discussion, but I have been having issues/error msg while trying to start a new blog)

srinidhi's picture

..till metro connects..

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@Clive: Guess thats the best route for you till the metro connects Whitefield..that is..if u still be working at that place 2-3 yrs from now!

idontspam's picture

Taken for a ride?

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Beyond charging toll before finishing works I am puzzled why people living under this flyover in areas like Byatarayanapura  etc have to pay toll near airport when they dont get to use the elevated stretch at all? Am I missing something?

Sanjeev's picture

One more controversy on Airport Express Highway

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Notice to govt over plea against elevated highway near Jakkur aerodrome

The High Court on Tuesday ordered notice to the State and the Union governments in connection with a petition seeking to save the Jakkur aerodrome from the elevated highway (EH) project. The petitioners say that the project is in violation of norms and obstructs flights.

The petitioners, Agni Aero Sport and Adventure Academy Private Limited (AASAAPL), had moved the High Court over the construction of the EH to provide connectivity to the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA), stating that the EH had come up in the no obstruction zone of the Jakkur runway approach funnel, endangering the safety of flight operations and making the runway unsuitable for many aircraft which could earlier operate from there.

The petitioners noted that AASAAPL, established in 1994, is the pioneer in India in aerosports, especially microlight flying. They said it is the country’s first all-metal microlight aircraft manufacturing facility. 

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“We conduct cloud seeding, weather modification and atmospheric research, using specially modified aircraft. The inaction on the part of the authorities to exercise power under the Aircraft Act, 1934, and to prevent such illegal EH construction in the vicinity will result in danger to human lives. It may also lead to the closure of the aerodrome and the City losing another precious lung space to real estate sharks and creating an environmental disaster,” the petitioners said.

Noting that the elevated highway portion in the funnel zone has effectively reduced the runway usable length from 850 metre to 500 metre (by about 40 per cent), the petitioners said that this had jeopardised the safety of flight operations and also made the operations of certain classes of aircraft unviable. 

The petition seeks the demolition of the portion of the EH, 45 metre on either side of the extended centre line of the Jakkur aerodrome runway, in compliance with the specifications laid for airport construction or modification of the plan in such a manner that keeps in mind the approach funnel zone of the aerodrome.

Justice A S Bopanna, who heard the matter, ordered notice to the State government, Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, chairman of National Highways Authority Of India and director of the Government Flying Training School. 

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/368655/notice-govt-over-plea-against.html

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