The 30-km expressway from Hebbal to Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) will be a signal free corridor in around a years time. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is building an underpass at Sadahalli junction (near the toll gate) and once project gets completed, the last remaining traffic signal at this junction will be removed for motorists using the main lanes.
Speaking to The Hindu, an official of NHAI said: Between Hebbal and Trumpet interchange, there is a traffic signal where Sadahalli main road gets connected with the highway. As per the plan, an underpass will come up in the area. Vehicles coming from Hebbal towards the airport will move above the underpass.
The work has already begun, with barricades being erected on the main lanes. Traffic has been diverted to the service road. The project was initially planned two years ago.
An official at the Chikkajala traffic police station said building an underpass at the junction will serve many purposes. Sadahalli, Doddajala, Shettigere, and other areas will benefit the most, he said. There are many villages in the area. Motorists coming from these villages will get easy access to the main lanes of the highway, he pointed out, adding that Sadahalli junction is also an accident-prone area and the proposed underpass will help in reducing accidents as well.
Motorists too welcomed the move. One of them, Nagesha, said: On either side of the highway, a lot of developments are happening as the international airport is located near by. Due to increased traffic movement, villagers are finding it difficult to access the highway. At present, one has to wait for a long time as more priority is given to motorists using the main lanes. They should have built flyover long ago. All these years, authorities ignored the safety of motorists.
The NHAI is also contemplating increasing the number of toll booths at Sadahalli toll gate. An official said: There is proposal to increase the number of toll collection points, but owing to land issues, no decision has been taken. The Union government is giving impetus to FAST tag lanes to ease congestion. We need to take a decision on increasing the number of toll booths considering various factors, the official said.
No respite at Hebbal
The removal of a traffic signal may not necessarily ensure respite at Hebbal. In May 2017, the traffic police had removed a signal near Esteem Mall after the skywalk built across the highway became operational. However, removal of the signal failed to provide any relief to commuters. Due to the delay in widening of the service road, unavailability of proper bus bays are causing traffic jams in the area.
Amaranath, a motorist said: A large number of long distance buses ply via Hebbal. Hundreds of passengers stand on the roads waiting for the buses. There are no bus bays, and authorities have failed to build a service road. As a result, traffic jams happen on a daily basis. Despite removing the signal, it has not made any difference for motorists.