The final stretch of National Highway 7 from Hebbal to the Kempegowda International Airport, with three flyovers totalling over 5 km, and over 22 km of improved roads and access ways, was inaugurated formally here on Monday.

The project, which is the first to be completed under Phase 7 of the National Highways Development Project, was opened by Union Minister for Transport, Road and Highways Oscar Fernandes. Mr. Fernandes, who is also Minister for Labour and Employment, gave away smartcards to autorickshaw and taxi drivers under the Central government’s Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana. The event saw workers and their families, who are BPL card holders, collect their smartcards which will allow them access to cashless treatment up to Rs. 30,000 a year. The health insurance scheme already has 17.45 lakh unorganised sector workers and their families as beneficiaries.

This stretch is a game changer, Mr. Siddaramaiah said, because it not only makes commuting easy, but reduces the risk of accidents. Vehicular movement on this stretch is 15,000 during peak hours, which made the project a necessity. This upgrading has cost Rs. 680 crore, he said. Though minor stretches of the NH-7 had been inaugurated earlier, on Monday, the entire stretch was thrown open to commuters. This includes a first-of-its-kind single-pier six-lane segmented flyover, constructed by the NHAI, B.N. Singh, Member Technical at NHAI, said. This has reduced commute on the 22-km stretch from 45 minutes to 15 minutes, he added.

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