Hyderabad’s sustainable cycling track near ORR to usher in wheels of change

The 23-kilometre eco-friendly bicycle track has a solar-panelled roof

August 10, 2023 03:18 pm | Updated August 28, 2023 02:59 pm IST

A view of the path which houses the cycle track

A view of the path which houses the cycle track | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL

Most of us like to cycle for fitness, as a hobby, or to commute but the risk of pollution, traffic and getting hit by passing vehicles makes us opt for other means of transport. There are however, signs of change in Hyderabad as people get ready to cycle, provided it is in a safer environment.

Workers fixing solar roof panels

Workers fixing solar roof panels | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL

Pushing cycling as a sustainable lifestyle is Healthway, a first-of-its-kind sustainable solar roof cycling track near Hyderabad’s Outer Ring Road (ORR). Work on the 23-kilometre environment-friendly fully-lit track is on at a brisk pace.

Prudhvi Ram Kanakamedala, director, KMV Projects Limited

Prudhvi Ram Kanakamedala, director, KMV Projects Limited | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL

The three-lane track has two stretches — 8.5 kilometres from Nanakramguda to Telangana State Police Academy (TSPA) and 14.5 kilometres from Kollur to Narsingi— converging at Narsingi Junction, informs Prudhvi Ram Kanakamedala, director, KMV Projects Limited, that is building this green track. The four access points at Nanakramguda, Narsingi, TSPA and Kollur allow cyclists to enter and exit the track from most parts of the city at leisure and ride amid greenery.

Cycle sculpture near the ORR cycling track

Cycle sculpture near the ORR cycling track | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL

The cycling stretch, says Prudhvi is only inspired by the South Korean bike highway with solar panels and has not replicated it. “The track in South Korea is mainly targeted towards solar power generation but our focus is to ensure a better experience for cyclists and solar roofs are only an added advantage. The track in South Korea lacks amenities ” points out Prudhvi standing on a ground that boasts of a a six coat protective layer of acrylic polyurethane that is weather, water and oil resistant and dries faster, has a better grip and also reduces the impact of a fall. .

Among the five amenity points planned with car parking, cycle repair and rentals and food trucks, two amenity points will open at Narsingi and TSPA during the inauguration. A team of 800, including construction workers, architects, engineers and consultants, have been working on the project since October.

Three-lane track

Three-lane track | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL

A major highlight of the 100-crore project is its sustainability factor in the form of 16MW solar panels fixed on the roof. “In a typical scenario, one would be needing around 64 acres of land for these solar panels but the elevated placing helps in using the space underneath for cycling,” says Prudhvi pointing towards the roof.

The 30,000 solar panels will not only illuminate with warm golden tube lights placed along the three-lane cycling track but also generate power back to the grid. “The invested money will get recouped in a span of maybe 15 years. We are saving land and generating power which makes it naturally sustainable.  The roof ensures protection from sun, rain, and pollution and also avoids accidents,” he says and adds, “There might be around 40 days of low production of power in Hyderabad due to varying radiation levels but the rest of 11 months will see good production.”

Hyderabad gets India’s first solar roof cycling track
| Video Credit: NAGARA GOPAL

Around 50 CCTV cameras at entry and exit points monitored by the police department, V-shaped columns in SS steel guarding the path and GI roofing sheets with anodized coating sourced from a factory in Ahmedabad and fabricated on-site are its other features. The team also collaborated with experts at the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad and Osmania University’s College of Engineering to customise the design of panelsand create modular pieces.

A major challenge was the changing terrain leading to different levels of height on the road. The team built the heights of the roof based on a 3D model of the terrain to ensure continuity. “Joining the beams had to be engineered for the first time and devising it at a factory requires a certain level of precision hence fabrication was done on site. It was a challenge, considering how the structure turns.”

As the team races to complete the project before an official announcement of the inauguration date, Prudhvi says. “The track is not just for avid cyclists but also enthusiasts who want to experience cycling amid a green space. “

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