Scary ride to KIA through pitch dark expressway

Scary ride to KIA through pitch dark expressway

It was with much fanfare the 22-km elevated express highway towards Kempegowda International Airport was finally thrown open to the public.

With it, those seeking to catch their flights on time heaved a big sigh of relief that their travel to the airport would be hassle-free and smooth. 

The expressway does provide for unhindered cruise. But at what cost, has become the operative question agitating the minds of those taking it.

Ironically, where safety and security should have been the prime concern, being seriously compromised, it has turned into a perilous drive through pitch darkness, for travellers have no choice but brave it.

Yes, the swanky, towering streetlight poles dot the expressway’s entire stretch, but serve no purpose when they do not light up during night. So much so, taxis and other cars plying on the speedway are forced to solely depend on the vehicle’s headlights to steer them safely to their destinations with death lurking at every stretch of its 22-km ride.

According to cab drivers regularly ferrying travellers to the airport, the expressway, in the past few months, has been without lights through its stretch. “We cannot even see the median, especially if vehicles are coming out of the trumpet junction as there are no other lights. Many vehicles have hit the median,” said Chandrappa, a cab driver.

Further, says Chandrappa, with youngsters speeding freely getting an adrenaline thrill out of it, it is a matter of time deaths become a norm on the highway. But then the authorities seem to be blissfully unaware of the problem. For, according to the National Highway Authority of India Project Director Surendra Kumar, he was not aware of the streetlights being switched off during night as lights functioned through automated system.

“The maintenance of the highway has been handed over to Navayuga Devanahalli Tollway Private Limited. The automated system switches on lights at 6:30 pm and switches off at 6:30 am. There should be no reason why lights are switched off,” he quipped.

Likewise, Navayuga Devanahalli Tollway Private Limited Operation And Maintenance Manager B Srinivas averred they do not switch off lights for any reason. “We receive power supply from Bescom to light up the 950-odd streetlights.

Sometimes, there are power cuts during nights. Commuters plying on the road can complain at designated locations to lodge any grievances. The details are given on the slip provided to commuters after the toll is paid,” he added.

DCP (Traffic-West) S Girish said they check on drunken driving cases only at certain locations on certain days and the elevated highway was not part of this. “We normally have traffic police patrolling till 10 pm on the airport road, but we cannot continue monitoring beyond 10 pm. If there have been cases of speeding and drag races, we will do surprise inspections,” he added.

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