Bellary Road has become a dangerous obstacle course
Even as the city chokes with bottlenecks and contends with potholes made worse by the monsoon, more extravagant plans are being drawn up for the much-gilded new airport road.
This time, a 20-km stretch of the National Highway 7 between the Hebbal flyover and the Bengaluru International Airport, is being widened — for the second time — at a cost of Rs. 600 crore to create a service lane and also accommodate a proposed Rs. 6,900 crore High-Speed Rail Link (HSRL) to the airport. Work on the 34-km HSRL will be taken up by Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. to connect BIA to the city centre in 25 minutes.
By 2014, when these parallel projects on the new airport road are completed, they would have gobbled up around Rs. 10,000 crore.
This includes the Rs. 680-crore elevated expressway being constructed between Hebbal and the international airport that has thrown traffic out of gear for several months now.
A.K. Mathur, Chief General Manager, National Highway Authority of India, Karnataka and Goa, said the 22-km expressway will most likely not meet its deadline of May 2013 because of the lack of funds and hurdles in acquiring land.
“The disruption of toll collection has hit the project. There have been problems in acquiring land from temples on the road,” he told The Hindu.
The irony, however, is that these projects, which are meant to speedily ferry people to the airport, have all but grounded traffic on the road with abysmal lack of planning. The road, which will one day accommodate multiple lanes and levels of traffic, is barely two lanes at several stretches, including at the Sahakarnagar Junction and at the Gandhi Krishi Vignan Kendra.
The stretch is a veritable obstacle course with motorists having to navigate diversions, get past bottlenecks and manoeuvre over drainage slabs that are good six to eight inches higher than the asphalt. The monsoon, no doubt is going to only make matters worse.