Pay toll for expressway replete with roadblocks

September 17, 2013


BANGALORE: The irony of BIA Road is at the far end – Sadahalli gate, where the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) collects a toll from vehicles returning from the airport. Road users are paying through the nose for a journey on a bumpy road punctuated by gridlocks and littered with construction material.Though there was stiff resistance to the toll, NHAI had its way. The road users’ complaints against the arbitrariness of collecting toll when highway upgradation work is still under way, had few takers. The recent heavy showers have revealed that waterlogging is not only the result of poor drainage but also roadblocks created by the upgradation work, road users allege.

An estimated 1.24 lakh passenger car units (PCU) move towards NH-7. Each time it rains, BIA-bound vehicles run into waterlogging at Minsk Square, where absence of proper drainage and ongoing Metro work turns the road in front of GPO into a huge pool. Thursday was no different.

Motorists ran into another rain-aggravated gridlock at Mehkri Circle flyover that night. The next bottleneck was at Sahakarnagar junction.

“Despite the wide roads after Hebbal flyover, the bottlenecks start from Sahakarnagar junction, where the ramp to the elevated expressway is being constructed. Construction is on at snail’s pace here. Adding to the woes,BWSSB has undertaken drainage work by the roadsides,” said D Nagabhushanam, secretary, Sahakarnagar Residents’ Welfare Association.

Thursday night’s bottlenecks were severe after Kogilu Cross up to the trumpet intersection.

“We had resisted toll collection on a road which is yet to be upgraded. Our protests were silenced by the government. The endless construction work has doubled vehicle maintenance cost, as tyres have to be changed every quarter,” Holla slammed the government.

NHAI officials, on the other hand, maintained absolute silence on the poor drainage and problems created by the ongoing upgradation work. “It’s being done on a ‘develop, build, finance, operate and transfer’ model and the concessionaire (Navayuga Engineering) is facing a fund crisis which is causing the delay,” was all they said.


It’s daylight robbery on NH-7 : the National Highways Authority of India is collecting toll for a road which is yet to be built. That the state government has allowed it is also surprising. Work on the expressway has been going on for months now, the highway is a mess, and so are the drains. For commuters, it must be galling to pay up and then get gridlocked. While all infrastructure projects do inconvenience the public, those responsible for the expressway should realize this is a premium road and go about their work in a more organized manner and ensure the drains and roads are in working condition. Ideally, they should have stuck to their deadline and wound up before the monsoon.

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