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Karnataka government readies plans for tunnel roads linking airport, IT corridors

However, no decision has been made regarding the government agency responsible for the project.
Last Updated 05 July 2023, 22:12 IST

The state government plans to conduct a feasibility study for building tunnel roads in two congested areas of the city centre to connect the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) with the IT corridors.

However, no decision has been made regarding the government agency responsible for the project.

Going by deliberations at Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar's meeting on Tuesday, the government is considering constructing tunnel roads between Hebbal and KR Puram via Mehkri Circle, Bengaluru Cantonment railway station, and Old Madras Road. A second stretch would connect Silk Board from Cantonment through Double Road, Lalbagh, and Hosur Road.

These two lines stretching about 50 kilometres had been picked for the feasibility for the first phase. The decision follows a presentation from AECOM, a US-based infrastructure consulting firm that previously proposed a 99-km elevated corridor, which was later abandoned.

Multiple sources privy to the discussion on tunnel roads told DH that the government is undecided about which agency to put in charge of the project, although it is unlikely to go with the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). It may eventually give the project to the Karnataka Road Development Corporation (KRDCL) or Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) or Bengaluru Smart City.

During Tuesday’s meeting, AECOM representatives informed Shivakumar about the latest technology that can tunnel up to 300 meters per day using multiple tunnel boring machines (TBMs). They provided examples of existing tunnel roads in countries like Singapore and Malaysia, as well as their involvement in Mumbai's twin tunnel project.

Initial estimates suggest that tunnelling each kilometre will cost around Rs 450 crore. As the first phase is expected to cost around Rs 25,000 crore, the meeting discussed various funding options such as long-term loans, public-private partnerships, and asset monetisation.

However, the proposal to build tunnel roads has faced strong opposition.

Critics argue that such a project is unnecessary considering the expansion of Namma Metro in various parts of the city. Some believe that the funds should be used to expedite Namma Metro's Phase 3A project (Silk Board-Hebbal) and extend the metro along the Inner Ring Road.

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(Published 05 July 2023, 21:06 IST)

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