Whizzing by to the airport

SMOOTH DRIVE

Whizzing by to  the airport

Going to or from the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) used to be a Herculean task for outsiders and Bangaloreans alike — the busy route was congested and the flyover construction en route only added to the problem.

On January 1, however, the New Year began with the opening of a section of the long-awaited Hebbal-Devanahalli Expressway on National Highway 7, following which the entire signal-free elevated corridor was opened up.

Understandably, this has reduced travel time and made for a smooth, hassle-free ride.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) corridor includes a 3.7 km elevated road from Esteem Mall to Kogilu Cross beyond Yelahanka, 700m flyover at Vidyanagar, 500m flyover at Chikkajala, four underpasses en route, three-lane service roads on either side and a toll plaza at Sadahalli Junction.

About the revenue model in place for the Rs 680-crore project, a source in the NHAI, informs, “Currently, a one-way trip is priced at Rs 20 for cars, Rs 30 for LCVs, Rs 60 for buses/trucks and Rs 95 for multi-axle vehicles. The toll might be increased taking the cost of the structure into consideration. The maintenance of this henceforth will be the responsibility of the concessionaire — Navayuga Engineering — which will carry out the repair work as and when required.”

The attitude of Bangaloreans who always complained about the airport traffic has seen a stark change. “Earlier, I used to take an hour to get to the airport from Hebbal but now, I’m there in 20 minutes! And since there are no signals, it essentially takes the same duration any time of the day. I travel a lot as most of my architecture projects are based out of station.

I used to avoid certain flight timings like 9 am or post 5 pm to avoid traffic but now, even that isn’t a problem,” says George Seemon, an architect who flies five times a month.  For many, the existence of the flyover means not having to think twice about going to drop or pick up family and friends.

“My husband travels very often and just thinking of the time taken to reach the airport used to make me lazy to go see him off. But now, the distance feels like nothing and I can drop him and be back home within an hour,” shares Akanksha, a professional. It’s also a boon for students of colleges closer to the airport like Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology and Acharya Institute.

   Ratika Singh, a student of Srishti, says, “Earlier, visiting exhibitions and attending conferences or talks took the whole day because travelling by the local transport took time. It felt like we were in two different cities altogether. But with the flyover, we can visit the City more often, even on weekends.

Not waiting for traffic clearance at railway crossings makes us feel safer and it’s a beautiful drive too. But I found the exits and directions slightly confusing. We almost reached the airport once while driving back at night and had to use the GPS to find the right exit.”

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