The new Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) will be opened on May 11, 2008.
The Election Commission may not have permitted any festivities and gala celebrations, but then, we Bangaloreans, are more interested in the long overdue additional capacity of the new airport.
Various government agencies are busy upgrading or creating roads, to improve access to the airport for the expected 25,000 vehicles per day, to and from the airport. The road from Vidhana Soudha till BIA is being widened and being made “signal free”. The National Highway NH-7 from Hebbal flyover onwards till BIA, will be 8 lanes (6 on the highway, and 2 access roads). All of us, expect vehicles to “fly” on the highway and cover the distance to the new airport in under 20 minutes.
In our rush to ensure quick access to the airport, we have overlooked the pedestrians who need to cross the NH-7 highway, and their safety.
There are people on both sides of the NH-7 highway from Hebbal flyover till beyond Yelahanka, be it in housing colonies, factories, hospitals, schools, or malls. The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) who is responsible for NH-7, has not provided any form of over-bridges or under-passes.
Those of us who use NH-7 currently, have seen people literally scampering across the highway, in fear of their lives. It is risky, not just for the pedestrians, but also the vehicles, especially two wheelers.
If we do not address this issue soon, I fear it is just a matter of time till serious accidents become the norm.
It is still not too late. The BBMP has designs for ready made Skywalks, which can be erected in less than a month. Advertisers will be happy to pay the Rs. 1.5 to Rs. 2 Crore each Skywalk costs, in return for the advertising rights, or BBMP can put these up themselves, and recover costs by advertising.
The barrier appears to be NHAI. It is the agency responsible for NH-7, not BBMP. The NHAI has grandiose plans for “double decking” the NH-7 like it is doing Hosur Road right now, and making flyovers at critical junctions. All plans on a 2~3 year time frame, at the earliest.
The last thing we all want to see, is a repeat of the recent Mysore Road incident, and a major dharna blocking traffic for hours on end, on the only decent access road to the airport.