Trial run begins, elevated road to airport to open by Jan-end

Trial run begins, elevated road to airport to open by Jan-end

 The much-delayed partially elevated, high-speed road connectivity to the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) got a hyper boost on Wednesday.

Two-way traffic was opened on the five-kilometre stretch from Kempapura near Esteem Mall to Venktala on a trial basis, setting the stage for the project going totally operational later this month.

The signal-free, six-lane road from Hebbal flyover to the KIA Trumpet Flyover, Devanahalli, promises to reduce travel time between the City and KIA to about 20 minutes.

Wednesday’s partial launch has left only 2 km of the project’s seven-kilometre elevated stretch pending completion. Works on the Bagalur ramp and the stretch at Vidyanagar will be cleared by mid-January, and the entire road will be traffic-ready soon after, National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) officials told Deccan Herald. The project features underpasses at Venkatala, Sathanur, Hunasemaranahalli and Chikkajala.

The 22.12-km high-speed, tolled road corridor under NHAI is being built by the Navayuga Engineering Company Limited on a Design, Build, Operate, Finance and Transfer basis.

Besides the six lanes on the main corridor, the project has two two-laned service roads on either side. The Rs 680-crore project had run into financial constraints triggering delays. Originally scheduled for completion in November 2012, the deadline was revised several times.

The latest deadline of October 2013 was pushed further to December 2013, and eventually postponed to January 2014.  Declining to commit to a specific date, a top NHAI official however assured that the road will be operationalised in January “without making a big noise about it.” Motorists, who had been complaining for years about the traffic chaos triggered by diversions at several points along the project length, were relieved by Wednesday’s partial launch.

The delayed road work had caused acute time and accessibility problems for airport-bound commuters. At the recent launch of KIA’s expanded Terminal-1A, many speakers had called for its speedy completion. Since the service roads were not wide enough, airport taxis and other vehicles had to slow down considerably. Speeding only triggered accidents many of which were fatal. During the monsoon, poor drainage facilities only added to the motorists’ woes.

Higher toll

But once the road is fully operationalised, the highway-users will have to pay a higher toll at the plaza erected near the Trumpet Flyover. NHAI officials confirmed that the current basic rate will be enhanced, contending that the hike was approved by the government. The exact extent of the toll increase was not immediately available.

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