Bengalureans who fly frequently have a cause for cheer, but it comes with its limitations.
The National Highways Authority of India is levying toll on commuters travelling to the airport from the city on the existing route. This move came after the much-awaited alternate toll-free road to the Kempegowda International Airport - via Hennur, RK Hegde Nagar, Bagaluru and Begur - was introduced.
So far, commuters only had to pay a toll while returning from the airport. They paid a one-way toll of Rs 120 while returning to the city from the airport.
Now, the day pass will be available for Rs 125, while a one-way pass will cost Rs 80.
On Sunday, Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah inaugurated the alternate route amidst much fanfare, just before the Assembly poll dates are announced by the Election Commission of India, after which the Model Code of Conduct will kick in.
The possibility of toll being levied at the Devanahalli Plaza was discussed even before the completion of the alternate route. This came with the fear that there would be traffic snarls on Ballari Road, but these will now be shifted to the new road. Currently, the toll on the stretch is collected only while returning from the airport.
Speaking to TNM, YV Prasad Reddy, Regional Officer, National Highways Authority of India said, “We are going to charge now for both times as the state government has now readied an alternate road. We don’t expect many vehicles to return on the same stretch anymore with the option of a toll-free road".
However, he assured that there won’t be traffic pile-up leading to the airport.
“We will study the traffic pattern and ensure there are sufficient toll booths. The waiting time will not be more than three minutes,” he said.
The alternate route was proposed to be a boon for city dwellers living in the eastern part of the city, which includes KR Puram, Baiyappanahalli and CV Raman Nagar, and to also ease the flow of traffic on Hebbal Flyover and the following parts on the existing route.
The access to the new road is plagued with problems - work is still ongoing on the inaugurated Hennur flyover, and underlying stretches still require work for the alternate route to be beneficial.
Meanwhile, Additional Chief Secretary (PWD) Lakshminarayana assured that the newly laid roads will be able to handle the traffic.
“This road will remain free. We cannot do anything about the old route as it is maintained by the NHAI, which is under the Government of India,” Lakshminarayana told TNM.