Expressway elevates commuting
Hosur Road-Electronic City tollway thrown open to traffic
In a big boost to the City’s road infrastructure, a 9.985-km elevated tollway on Hosur Road was formally launched here on Friday.
Inaugurating the Rs 880-crore project, Union Surface Transport Minister Kamal Nath announced the Centre’s plan to spend Rs 18,000 crore in the next four years for infrastructure projects in the State.
Till such time toll collection begins about three weeks from now, commuters to Hosur can travel free of cost on the elevated road. With the launch of the new stretch, the travel time from the Silk Board Junction to Electronics City will come down to about 15 minutes. The project, started in mid-2006, was initially scheduled for completion in September 2008.
Barely an hour after its launch on Friday afternoon, the elevated highway witnessed its first traffic jam. Triggering the jam was a private bus that hit a welcome board a few meters from the elevated stretch. Motorists who parked their vehicles atop the flyover added to the chaos. Many motorists were clueless about the exit, yet to understand that once you get onto the elevated stretch, the down ramp is only near Electronics City, 9.5 km away.
Kamal Nath later told the media that another project worth Rs 679.4 crore, connecting Hebbal Flyover with Bangalore International Airport (BIA) through a 22 kilometre-long expressway, was cleared on Friday by the Union Cabinet.
“What we inaugurated today is our first step towards meeting the infrastructure crisis. On Thursday, we cleared a project connecting Devanahalli with Hebbal with an expressway, which we are putting on the fast track,” Nath said.
Elaborating on the Centre’s Rs 18,000-crore expenditure programme for Bangalore, Nath said the Centre was keen to bridge the infrastructure deficit in the City. “Bangalore is the UPA’s priority. We are trying to bridge the infrastructure deficit in this fast-growing city. Road is an important part of the growth of economy and industry. Wealth do not create good roads but good roads create wealth. We want good connectivity with the ports.”
He said projects worth Rs 450 crore had been sanctioned for Bangalore. Across the State, 18 national highway projects worth Rs 11,750 crore, spanning 1,869 kilometres, were under way. A special category project with an expenditure of Rs 1,900 crores was also in the pipeline.
On the demand to extend the reach of the Metro Rail to Attibele, Nath said he would take up the matter with the Prime Minister.
To a question regarding the delay in Jawaharlal Nehru Nation Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) projects in Bangalore, Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily said the Centre had released 35 per cent of the total cost of the JnNURM projects but it was the prerogative of the state government for the speedy completion of the project. “In this case, the State has been found wanting,” said Moily.