Taking Hennur Road to KIA? Beware, air pockets ahead!

With traffic towards Kempegowda International Airport rising, the government has finally come up with an alternative road to it, but the Public Works Department, which has spent crores building it, has neither widened the narrow stretch from Mylanahalli to the airport via Begur, which is only 30 feet wide, nor ensured easier traffic flow at Kannur, Byrathi and Chikkagubbi. Will this road too go the way of Ballari Road, asks Nikhil Gangadhar.

If driving in the city is a nightmare, the drive to the airport is at times worse, especially during the peak hours. While the Metro Rail, once it is extended in this direction, and the newly introduced heli-taxi service could help passengers reach the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) faster in future, an alternate road has also now been opened to it from Mylanahalli via Begur.  Although formally inaugurated by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah recently, the road is still not open to traffic as there are a few  pending jobs to complete on the stretch.

A senior officer of the Public Works Department (PWD) explains that while the stretch from Myalanahalli to KIA has been asphalted,  the median and streetlights have still not been installed. “We hope to complete the work in the next 10 days and throw it open to traffic,” he adds.

The PWD has also taken note of the fact that the alternate road is just 30 feet wide and will need widening to cope with the expected traffic once it is opened to the public. The senior officer reveals the plan is to widen it to 100 feet to accommodate the traffic.

Bengaluru

“Currently, the road from Mylanahalli to KIA via Begur is only 30 feet wide, which may not be adequate for the traffic expected on the stretch. So the state government and departments concerned are already in talks with the local people for land acquisition to widen it . Once the land is acquired we will begin the work. But I cannot say how long it will take to complete,” he explains. Also, while the  450 meter long road from Begur to KIA  is  six lane, only four are complete at present and work is on to build the other two.

A senior traffic police officer believes the government needs to hurry up and open the Mylanahalli stretch to the public as soon as possible both for the convenience of people going to the KIA from the eastern parts of the city and to reduce the congestion at Mekhri Circle,  Hebbal and Ballari Road.

Bengaluru

“Now that the Hennur flyover has been opened , people can use it to go through Bagalur and Mylanahalli to reach KIA. Currently they use the Hennur stretch to reach Bagalur and KIA via the Trumpet flyover. This is a long distance heavy with traffic,” he notes. The police officer warns there could be bottlenecks at Mylanahalli junction and on Begur Road as the stretch is only 30 feet wide.

“With the traffic from the airport road expected to merge with the traffic from Mylanahalli via Begur, we expect a lot of congestion here. Once the traffic increases we expect congestion from Hennur, Kannur, Byrathi and further  on because the road is narrow. It needs to be widened as soon as possible to accommodate the traffic,” he emphasises.

Realty boom coming!
For the people in the eastern parts of the city, the alternate road to the airport could come as a boon for more than one reason. While it will make travel easier to the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), the entire stretch from Hennur to Begur could also see a real estate boom with industries, corporate offices and business development centres making a beeline to it owing to its proximity to the airport. In fact, several projects, including the opening of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are already in the pipleline.

The people are clearly looking forward to better times as Mrs Peacock Henry of HRBR Layout, who is a musician, believes there will be a  real estate boom in the area and several plots of vacant land near Kannur, Bagalur and surrounding areas will  be snapped up for apartments, houses, recreational clubs, complexes, corporate offices and so on. “All this will mean more business and revenue as well as employment opportunities. These areas will see a lot of development after the alternate road to the airport is opened,” she predicts.

But Mr Satish Vardaraj of KR Puram, a photographer by profession, who flies from KIA frequently, feels the alternate road has been too long in coming.  “While it’s true that people from Whitefield, KR Puram, Indiranagar, Banaswadi, Frazer Town, Kammana halli, Byappanahalli, Marathalli and surrounding areas will now be able to reach the airport without hassle, it  is surprising that the government woke up so late to the need for an alternate road.  In other parts of the country there are multiple roads leading to the international airports,” he notes.

If the people are full of anticipation, so are cab drivers, who are looking forward to an easier drive to the airport. Says a cab driver, Mohan Gandhi, “It is a nightmare to go  to the airport via Mekhri Circle, Hebbal and Ballari Road especially during the peak hours. But once the new road opens, we will be able to save a lot of time and avoid traffic. Most importantly, we will be able to skip the toll gate.” He hopes the government will also open the road from Budigere that leads to the  airport as the traffic will then be equally distributed , preventing congestion enroute.

New stretch will help Whitefield, Banaswadi residents: Sanjeev V Dyamannanvar, transport expert
The alternate road to the international airport will help people living in the eastern part of the city. But we must remember that the stretch from Mylanahalli to Begur is just 30 feet wide.

People from areas in the east division of the city can now give Hebbal a miss on their way to the airport and the new stretch will help Whitefield residents save 12 kms and those in Banaswadi and surrounding areas upto 6 kms to KIA. They will also have a traffic- less drive  and no toll gate either.

But the road, which is only 30 feet wide at Mylanahalli, needs to be widened as soon as possible as otherwise the traffic could get worse and the entire purpose of having an alternate road to the airport could be defeated. The department concerned should keep in mind the growing traffic on this particular stretch and begin road widening immediately by acquiring land wherever necessary. It  should have done this earlier but has delayed the work.

And although the road is isolated for now , there are chances of rash driving that could harm pedestrians and others. It should therefore have speed breakers, medians, road reflectors and constant police patrolling. It’s also neccessary to have a speed interceptor system to keep a check on rash and negligent driving. The police too should ensure  there is round- the- clock patrolling on the road to prevent any untoward incident.

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Note from Kannada.Club :

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