Toll-free alternative roads to KIA: Search in vain

Toll-free alternative roads to KIA: Search in vain

Unless the airport opens a second entry point, tolled road will remain the only option

Toll-free alternative roads to KIA: Search in vain

Drivers desperately seeking a toll-free road to the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) have hit a dead end. The best option available is a roundabout trip from the city through Devanahalli to be back on the Airport road, paying a lesser toll of Rs.

75 at the trumpet flyover six kms away. But is the longer, slower route worth the
trouble? 

The four-fold hike in toll rates on Airport road have had passengers and taxi drivers in a tizzy. They had no escape from the toll collectors as the plaza had spread across all the lanes, leaving no room for a toll-free service road. The only way out was a route that let drivers pay just for one way. Deccan Herald tracked those roads, winding their way through a countryside awaiting another realty explosion.

Ever since the airport opened in 2008, the road from Nagawara junction on Outer Ring Road was talked about as a viable alternative. Passing through RK Hegde Nagar as Thanisandra main road, this route joins the Bagalur main road on its way to Bagalur before heading North towards the airport. But just after Mylanahalli and Dummanur villages, the road takes a right turn running along the airport wall without a gate in sight.

No entry

Passengers and airport taxi drivers had sought a gate at this point, since the runway was in the Northern side. However, citing security and other operational reasons, the Kempegowda International Airport Limited (KIAL) chose to ignore it. As Bangalore Tourist Taxi Operators Association secretary Radhakrishna Holla contended, a gate here would reduce the distance from the city and Whitefield side by about seven kilometers.

Holla blamed the state government for not applying pressure on KIAL to get the access gate. If opened, this second entry point could be reached from Nagawara junction in 22.12 km without paying a single rupee as toll. Currently, drivers exit the Thanisandra main road from Nagawara junction by turning left either on the Kogilu road or Bagalur main road to get onto the Airport road. On their return trip, they pay a two-way toll of Rs. 115.

Road from Whitefield

But even before the toll hike, KIA-bound commuters from ITPL, Whitefield and surrounding areas had opted for the 26-km road from Budigere cross on Old Madras road to Devanahalli. Taxis take a left turn at Devanahalli to get onto Airport road, travel another six kilometers before entering the airport premises through the trumpet flyover.

The toll arithmetics change here. Explained Narasimhaiah, a taxi driver, “We get a zero toll token at the plaza before the trumpet flyover on the Devanahalli side. On the return trip, we produce this token and get a Rs. 40 waiver. Effectively, we pay only Rs. 75.” However, since this roundabout way is too far and slower for a traveller from the city proper, those not from Whitefield don’t use this route.

Commuters from Whitefield could also get onto Old Madras road from Hope Farm junction and take the NH 207 near Hoskote to reach Devanahalli, covering a distance of 40.2 km. But these routes are bound to get crowded since the two-lane roads are narrow and frequented by trucks bypassing the city.

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