Airport Expressway – more details

After the news in March that the BIAL expressway route has been finalized, KRDCL website now has a more detailed presentation (a big PDF, careful) on the expressway. I bet newspapers would pick this up over this week or next. Interesting things worth noting:

  • Starts near Horamavu and first 2 km from ORR is all elevated 6 lanes
  • Design speed 180 kmph
  • Clover leaf exchange planned at PRR (great!), but will be taken up later (disappointing procrastination?)
  • Ends up on NH7 airport link road, and not on NH7 itself (the point Tarle made earlier, good!)
  • 2 toll plazas, one before and one after PRR
  • Rs 50 toll for your car ORR to Airport. Rs 35 ORR to PRR. Figures for Bus are Rs 120 and 80.
  • (Most important) The time lines
    • Land acquisition Apr-July 2007 (but no update on how much land already acquired, its May already)
    • Start of work Sep 2007, planned to end Dec 2008

I read about some protests around land acquisition a few weeks ago. Add some more execution delay around PRR interchange and ORR and I am guessing its not going to be ready by Dec 2008. But nice to see such updates in public domain. We want more, and more often!


20 Responses

  1. Pranav,

    All the right noises are being made. Just yesterday there was talk of an underground road for 8km from Minsk square to hebbal.

    Now I all for good roads and smooth commuting. But Rs.800 crores!!! IMHO, all these should be on a BOOT basis. I am sure there are enough Indian and international road construction companies who can shell out 800cr upfront and recover it through toll.

    Assuming about 100000 vehicles use the tunnel (50000 on either direction) and @Rs.50 toll on the average, collections can be on the order of Rs.182 crores a year.

    50000 vehicles in a 18 hr period is not impossible. Then advertising could be another source.

    800 crores of government money can be used for

    a. Putting in libraries in 40000 govt schools @ Rs.2,00,000 – can buy about 2000 books
    b. Putting in 10 PCs in the same schools
    c. Improving government hospitals.
    d. Improving connectivity in rural Karnataka.

    Government should never become of the elite, for the elite and by the elite.


  2. The other thing that I wanted to mention but forgot was on the airport itself.

    Sad that they have not chosen to go for covered parking. I think it’s shortchanging customers a bit. How will one manage when it rains?

    I do hope they plan to train the taxi drivers that operate the taxis on basic customer service, road ettiquette – simple things like not horning and cursing, lane discipline. These are the first impressions that people get of India and we have not quite measured up.

    I also hope they plan good signage at the airport itself.

  3. A fast train link from SBC to BIAL and all that Srivatsa has talked about, including inculcating the habits to the drivers can be achieved in that Rs.800 crores and the money to be spent on Expressway. Without disciplined drivers (cab drivers, bus drivers and those driving their sedans), @180 speed roads we can expect only disasters. Planning an expressway and no room even for a fast train is stupidity. Let us congratulate the automobile and the cement lobby.

  4. Nicely done Pranav.

    Any idea who did those designs? ‘coz if it is KRDCL or some local entity then it augurs well & demolishes some of my theories. At the same time makes me furious. Well it makes me furious even otherwise, ‘coz why don’t they get such detailed designs for all road works in KA? Look around other roads, do they seem to be a result of a detailed plan? Here, for what really is a presentation material, they even talk of sub-base depths.

    Arun, I think 180 is the design speed so that the geometries are all correct. Hopefully, they limit the actual speeds to way less than that. Max speed 100-120kph is fine. If peak hour traffic moves at around 70-80 that will be great.

    I agree with you on rail. DMRC was looking into it. On this road the design says they have 9m medians + 1m outer shoulders. MG road piers are about 2m in dia. Perhaps, if the DMRC reports does the feasibility. Byapanhalli/Majestic/SBC metro to BIAL could go through this.
    In any case, this line(rail) should be built, considering all the development in the northern areas + airport ‘city’

  5. Tarle,

    Check out yesterday’s Hindu. Railways has said that they are not in a position to provide a dedicated link

    A bit sad really.

  6. Sri thanks,

    From that article..
    ‘State Government and the Bangalore International Airport Authority Limited form a joint venture. However, the railways have not received any such proposal so far.’

    Why would they do that & hand over the control of it to SWR?

    I was talking about Metro. But even that might not happen unless, Metro teams up with whoever will build this road.

  7. Ah,

    Missed that point.


  8. hahahahaha,

    I have been living in this fantasy world for about 7-8 years now:

    6/8/12/14 lane roads, expressways, inner/outer/peripheral ringroads, metro/mono rail, under/over bridges, pelican crossings, large/modernized bus stops, widening small roads like avenue road, roads in malleshwaram, underpasses, overpasses, dedicated lanes for autos/buses/two-wheelers, revamping of footpaths, etc.

    I have only been reading these is newspapers since I was in my PUC. I guess atleast when I am 60 years old (2042), I get to see atleast some of the above.

    Well – I call myself the ultimate optimist.

  9. guys, there were some typical ToI updates on airport connectivity today. Typical as in unsubstantiated, and random. Apparently NH 207 is getting a facelift to be ready as a major toll-free road from East Bangalore, Whitefield to reach the airport. Should be upgraded by April 2008 in time for opening. It also said Delhi Metro is doing a DPR on rail connectivity for new airport.

    And, what seemed interesting and logical but needs a lot of coordination between different organizations was this. Railways could be planning to run push-pull type service to the closest station to BIAL, and BIAL can run regular shuttles to ferry passengers between station and airport.

    Ah, they also said BMTC will run lots of Volvos to the new Airport. Anyway, go read Sunday’s epaper, page 2.

    So the summary, they are working on various things. Unfortunately, only ToI (I mean regular) journalists have the details :(

  10. lets give you a
    about the expressway
    the first proposal was the NH7
    the second was the Nagvara Main Road
    the third was the Hennur- Bagalur road which was grandly rechristened as
    International Airport Link Road. There is even a signboard to prove it opposite the Chandrika Soap Factory in Lingarajapuram.
    The fourth was the proposed expressway of the BMRDA, done with much fanfare through satellite imagery and notified with a map to all concerned, running on the edge of the village Byrathi.
    The now alignmentis the fifth. It runs over hundeds of houses and acres and acres of fertile farmlands.
    What the BMRDA and KRDCL are marking now : a new alignment ( N0. 6 ), fooling the residents and farmers by showing the route map of the fifth alignment and marking a new one.
    Questions for the public:
    What were the reasons for so many changes in the alignments?
    Who was favored by the re-alignment?
    What was the role of the surveyors, what was their motive, and who benifitted from these changes?

  11. Waiting eagerly here, you are theman.

    Is there a public way of getting a list of owners of land adjacent to the old and new alignments? Can we do this through Bhoomi?

  12. Lets start with the root cause of the evil, the BMRDA. The man thinks he is god personified…abrupt…rude…and enjoys the highest political patronage.

    He cares a damn for the aam aadmi. For that matter, this element cares a damn for the Law too and no less the Supreme Court. Please see article in Prajavani a few days ago.

    The Expressway is his brain child, pardon me, or should I say the brain child of his masters. Plan an International Airport and don’t plan the roads. So when you realize the passengers will have to walk to Bangalore. Throw in a road over peoples head not to mention their houses and land.

    Question for the public:
    How do you plan an airport and plan the road 10 years later?
    Whose smart ass idea is the Expressway?
    Why an expressway when existing roads can be upgraded?
    Who stands to benefit the most from the Expressway?

    Silkboard, you can get the record from Bhoomi or the sub registrar’s office, but the “beneficiaries” buy the land benami or do not transfer them to their names.


  13. Theman, thanks for your comments.

    First, I agree with your basic point that some very basic, fundamental aspects in design & execution are neglected.

    well the way the system is, BMRDA head IS a political appointee.

    10 years ago expressway might not been viable as nobody expected BIAL usage to cross, 5 mil. but it was expected to go way beyond that number in the 20 year horizon — the standard design horizon. This apart from the resulting growth due to BIAL, around the airport & on the way to it from BLR. But even with a 10 year horizon, the NH & SH should have been thought of as 6 & 4 lanes, irrespective of any other connectivity options.

    But given current BIAL usage estimates & growth in the region, I am not convinced that upgrading existing roads would solve the connectivity problem. Given the distances, 30 minute peak hour transit from ORR to BIAL is the minimum service metric for BIAL to be of any use to BLR. Already, given the distances, for some body in SoBa, MAS-BLR flight is increasingly unviable. (remember the state is paying a hefty 13% on the airport)

    Designs on NH of course are beyond the state’s mandate. but the SH goes through some fairly developed regions, controlling access on that would cut off a major local artery & retaining the local artery would cutoff connectivity. Even if all development along the SH remains static, as long it services the adjoining areas, it cannot be used as a transit road, given the projections on BIAL(apart from all the development around it & along the way) usage. Even if you have 8 lanes on the SH if there is no access control then the connectivity problem is NOT solved.
    (I once calculated that at about 11 mil/annum BIAL traffic alone amounts to about 1200 passengers/hour, again I cannot stress this enough, this apart from other growth along the airport)

    Now the displacement is another problem altogether & it should not be mixed up with connectivity, because even if the latter causes the former, it could have been atleast financially painless if certain systemic problems did not exist.

    #1. For some strange reason, BLR has persisted with site allotment, when land pressures are so high. Even Pune, a much smaller city, has taken the apartment route. High end apartments are different, I’m talking of ordinary seena seeing the affordable apartment action. System problem how to fix?
    #2. I wonder why the govt shies from rationalizing compensation. At the bare minimum, it should be enough for the sacrificing family to relocate. My guess is that 50 black -50 white system is the culprit. i.e., undervaluation at registration. If the govt auditor is seeing in records that private transactions are going on at 10 lakhs for a property how can he allow the govt to pay 20 lakhs for the same property? That would raise all sorts of flags in the system. Irrespecive of everything else, the system’s internal balances are the only things worth saving.
    Again System problem how to fix?

  14. given the heavy existing traffic, even the additional average 600 passengers/hour/direction would not be able to make the 30 km journey in 30 minutes due to traffic engineering issues even in the best 4 lane free access systems of the world.
    note that as of 2006, the average peak hour airport traffic is about 2000 passengers/hour.

    10 lakhs for a property worth 20 lakhs.

  15. sorry p…

    free access as opposed to access controlled expressways.

  16. Hey TS, terrific statistics, but how about a heart for the aam aadmi man?

    I will reply you point-wise before I go on to chapter 3 of the expressway saga.

    So the appointee must serve his political masters, but not the public who place his political masters in the positions they are in now. Some justice this, to the common man. NH7 now is going to be burdened with the Metro and lets pray that the road and rail traffic never meet, except in the airport. As regard to the SH, its in a deplorable condition. Fit for bullock carts, lorries and tractors only, so you have got your local artery. The only thing is, it is cut and bleeding and it will soon die. So I agree with you the road hasn’t been built as a road, but only as a bullock cart trail or am I reading you wrong.

    Coming to displacement. See the example of Kerala. Those displaced are paid three times the market value, repeat…THREE TIMES THE MARKET VALUE. So you bet its painless for the displacee. Less legal hassles to all concerned.

    Your rationalizing the compensation based on the 50-50 concept. Thoroughly unacceptable. How much did you pay for your properly? The whole thing in white? Blame the black on the high registration fees of the government.

    You say the government auditor will raise flags. And who would raise flags for the commission the contractor is paying when he gets the job of laying the Expressway. What system balance are you talking about? What balance to those being kicked out of their properties they’ve held for generations.

    The Expressway is geared to handle around 825 cars per hour, that translates to about 450 passengers per hour. . At level well below your passenger projection limits. So how does one handle your projection of 2000 passengers per hour? You rule out SH. Can the NH7 with the Metro handle 1600 more passengers per hour? You need another 10 lanes for that. More expressways , more displacement and more suffering to the aam aadmi?

    Two players the BMRDA and the KRDCL. Now this is a terrific ping pong game that the average citizen is put through. Ask BMRDA a question, they kick you to KRDCL. Ask KRDCL the same question, they boot you back to the BMRDA. Result, while you are shuttling like a ping pong ball, the answers are blowing in a gentle south wind.

    Now let’s come to the KRDCL and Mr. Swing Swing. You swing one way, he swings you the other. This brilliant military man shows you one target and fires at another. Result, other than his pleasantries and misleading banter, you do not have a clue that you are standing on a landmine. Now this commander of the expressway is the only one who decides who to twist and turn. Both the Expressway and you. Perhaps you will say he is another political appointee. Or are we seeing a politician in the making. Will give you more on the KRDCL tomorrow.

    Questions for the public:
    So if BMRDA and KRDCL don’t give you the answers, who will?
    Will the Expressway really solve the problem of the airport?
    How many Expressways are there in the making?
    Are we going to have one from M. G. Road or will it start from South Bangalore itself?

  17. The man,
    We are strangers to each other meeting on an impersonal forum. I don’t know your background, & you don’t know mine. In every post we write we cannot attach a portfolio of our opinions. We were discussing the expressway, and please let us keep it that way without getting into neenu naanu type of discussions.

    About the compensation, I am not trying to rationalize govt’s apathy & corruption, what I was saying is that the process is complicated by corruption at all ends. From planning, allotment, registration, to building, NOC, assessment & yearly taxes not to mention transfer. More than half the registered properties in BLR are in violation of by laws for example. ‘Aam aadmi’ is as much a part of this as are the babus. I make this point only to say that the problem is deeper. That they are all headed by political appointees does not help either.

    I am aware that some states have evolved a better system of land acquisition, GJ, TN come to mind immediately. But even if KA, pays 3 times the market value without concomitant changes in the system it will mean nothing. For example, I know actual land losers who are yet to see even the pittance that KA currently gives and are running pillar to post.

    Talking of aam admi, the aadmi actually selling aams has no chance of owning a property in BLR.

    My bottomline point, which I repeat from my earlier post, is that,
    #1. Displacement itself is painful. The least the govt could do is to make it at least financially tenable for people to shift and reestablish their lives. And system problems are THE source of excruciating misery here. Expressway is just A symptom. By throwing spanners in the expressway’s work nothing is solved. Today it is expressway, tomorrow it will be metro, then a BDA residential layout, then SEZ, then something else. Same story repeated again & again ad nauseum till the entire city crumbles.

    Now back to the expressway. 825 cars/hour? Where did you get his statistic? I think this number is wrong. For example you can park 933, 15 meter long BUSES (really long buses) on one lane with 7.5 meter space between them on a 21 km stretch. More practically, an ordinary two lane highway with shoulders can handle about 2000 PCUs/hour in EACH direction according to numerous studies worldwide. Ordinary city streets lanes have 1200 PCU capacities mid block. Here the specs are 6 access controlled lanes, with shoulders & median, and even by conservative estimates that will be about 6000 PCUs/hour in EACH direction. Note that these are conservative numbers.

    The metro train capacity is 1000 passengers per train.

    all this aside. please continue writing about your experiences with BMRDA & KRDCL.
    Perhaps you an file an RTI & approach LA? Good luck.

  18. theman have been really busy last 3-4 days to join in the conversation you and Tarle are having. Is that you real email id you left in your comment? (mail bounced) Want to contact you regarding doing some regular writing/posting of the kind you have been doing in the comments here. Let me know at silkboard [at] gmail (dot) com

  19. T. S.
    Nothing personal intended.
    The forum and blogs may be impersonal.Never the writer.

    The stats for the expressway are
    25,000 PCUPD IN 2008.
    30 YEAR projections.
    The right to collect toll for 30 years.
    2038 projection around 200000 PCUPD.
    aBSOLUTELY no idea about details of the Metro.
    Now do figure if one expressway is really enough.
    By the way the passenger handling capacity of the airport is supposed to be 11 million passengers per annum OFFICIAL and much more than that acccording to my airline sources. So lets hope we do not have a traffic jam within the airport premises itself.

    KRDCL.hereinafter referred to as the Builder. In a quaint Guns and Roses position. Smelling the sweet perfume of the roses they have spread out for their Masters and getting fired at for the misery they are knowingly causing
    to those being victimised.
    Now I read a strange comment the other day of Swing Swing. He said that it is natural for a greenfield project like this to have objections, but soon he says, the bakraas, I mean victims, read as those poor farmers, middle class and Dalits being displaced will be very happy with the increased value of their lands.Now here’s the catch.
    He is taking away all your land, so none is left for ” increased value ”
    He is acquiring the land under a powerful Act that requires you to leave free of charge or ever getting paid, a ” control line ” and a ” building line ”
    The BMRDA,hereinafter reffered to as Planner, has stated that no “activity”
    will be permitted on either side of the expressway,hence no structures will be allowed.
    How easy it is to fool the aam aadmi, particularly the poor peasants.
    Now you know why he is called Swing Swing.He is always swiging you in the wrong direction.

  20. Dude .. It is an expressway .. There ‘can’ be no activity on either side of the road .. It is a road meant for fast transport to and from the airport. There will not be any junctions or crossroads (except for major interchanges), which means that there is no point in having any “activity” – read as shops/restaurants/businesses – on the side of the roads. I know this is pretty much a first-of-its-kind in our country (except of course the Mumbai-Pune hwy), but let’s get used to the fact that expressways/highways are meant for transport, and not business!

    And I don’t get this concept of bringing in “dalits” into the equation whenever there is some development happening because some farmers are displaced. All it shows is that people play the political blame game in the hope of getting some mileage. It’s as if you need to bring in the “dalit” angle to validate your claim. If ordinary peasants are displaced, that’s not an issue. If a “dalit” is displaced, it’s a sacred crime! Grow up guys!

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