Centre to clear new Bengaluru-Chennai expressway in two months

BENGALURU: The proposed 265-km six-lane expressway between Bengaluru and Chennai is expected to get the Centre’s nod by June this year. The ambitious tollway project, once implemented, will cut down fuel consumption and travel time to less than four hours.

Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari made an announcement to this effect at a review meeting of NHAI projects in New Delhi on Tuesday. Besides Bengaluru-Chennai, the government will also sanction Mumbai-Vadodara and Delhi-Amritsar-Katra expressways by June, the minister said.

The NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) has planned to implement the project on design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) basis, and has already applied to ministry of environment and forests for clearance. The NHAI will implement the project under 1000-km of expressways it proposes to build under phase VI of the national highways development project (NHDP).

According to a NHAI note submitted for forest and environment clearance, the NHAI wants to facilitate high-speed travel on the proposed Bengaluru-Chennai corridor, which will have a width of 9metres. The highways organisation has projected a peak traffic of 45,000 to 60,000 passenger car units (PCUs) a day in three sections along the corridor.

The Centre has decided to build the greenfield project as the existing national highway-four (NH-4), which runs parallel to the proposed corridor, is one of the highest traffic carrying corridors in India. The new project will be developed as a fully access controlled facility on a new alignment, according to the NHAI note.

Bengaluru and Chennai are currently connected by two highways: One runs 335-km via Kolar, Chittoor, Ranipet and Kanchipuram, while the other runs 372-km via Krishnagiri and Ranipet. The new corridor has been planned in such a way that it will originate at Hoskote on Bengaluru outskirts where NH-4 meets NH-207, and ends at Sriperumbudar, 40 km from Chennai city. The NHAI wants the Chennai-bound traffic coming from Mumbai to access the proposed expressway at the Hoskote point.

According to the NHAI note, it will build the project in five sections of Bengaluru-Kolar, Kolar-Palamaner, Palamaner-Chittoor, Chittoor-Kanchipuram and Kanchipuram-Chennai.

At the review meeting, Gadkari said, while a record 16,271 km of national highways have been awarded and 8231 km constructed during 2016-17. He urged the ministry officials to award more projects in the coming days, and asked NHAI officials to execute projects at a faster pace.

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