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?