Tuesday, April 22, 2008

NHAI blocks median gap, cuts off residents

NHAI blocks median gap, cuts off residents
Commuters Have to Cover 2 More Km
TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Bangalore: As connectivity to the new airport in Devanahalli assumes greater importance in the administration’s scheme of things, a group of residents in Kempapura is calling it a misplaced priority. A gap in the median on Bellary Road (NH-7) — that linked traffic between Kempapura and Bellary Road — has been closed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), leaving commuters with two additional kilometres to cover.
While the NHAI maintains that the move was made in line with its guidelines, it hasn’t gone down well with residents of the area that also houses many educational institutions. Hari Kanniah, secretary of the Coffee Board Layout residents’ welfare association, said commuters on Bellary Road now travel further down and reach the Kodigehalli Main Road junction, take a Uturn and come back to join Kempapura Road. “Commuters from Kempapura to Yelahanka and beyond now take a left to reach Hebbal flyover, take a U-turn and come back,’’ he said.
Travelling the two additional kilometres only adds to traffic pile-ups on the road, said Balu, a resident. Kempapura has many residential colonies, apart from schools and educational institutions including Vidyaniketan School, Sindhi School and College, Presidency College and St Mary’s Institute of Nursing.
After the median gap was closed on February 25, vehicular movement to and from the institutions has been hit, according to the school and college managements. The RWA estimates that more than 8,000 students and staff of educational institutions travel on Kempapura Road every day. Support from the institutions is being mobilized for re-opening the median gap.
Official take
The NHAI responded to the residents’ charges saying the move to close the median was taken by the high-level task force that deals with issues of connectivity to the new airport.
“The focus is on ensuring smooth flow of traffic from Hebbal to the trumpet interchange in Devanahalli. Further, the NHAI guidelines stipulate that distance between median gaps has to be 2.5 km. The next opening is at the Kodigehalli Road Cross,’’ Sanjeev Raju, project director (NH 7), NHAI, told The Times Of India on Monday.
As the NHAI clears the decks for the elevated road between Hebbal and Yelahanka, residents are also pushing for more streetlights, pedestrian crossings and bus shelters.

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