The Centre has announced the construction of a highway connecting Vijayawada to Bengaluru, aimed at reducing the travel time between the two cities by five hours. The 342-km highway is to be built at a cost of Rs 13,600 crore.
Here are all the details of the project.
In a tweet on September 28, Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari said that the highway will connect the two cities via Kadapa. The four-to-six-lanes highway will be access-controlled, with feeder roads connecting at designated places.
How will the highway help
The Bangalore-Kadapa-Vijayawada Greenfield Access Controlled Corridor directly connects two major cities in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, reducing the distance between them by 75 km. This will a big relief to the large number of software engineers and other professionals from Andhra working in Bengaluru.
At present people who want to drive from Vijayawada or nearby districts to Bengaluru have the option of taking the NH 16, which takes about 13 hours; the NH 16 and NH 167B via Kadapa, which takes 14 hours; or NH 16 and NH 44, which takes about 15 hours. However, as NH 167B and NH 44 do not have access control, traffic congestion often increases the travel time. During Telugu festivals, the traffic from Bengaluru towards Andhra Pradesh increases drastically, further prolonging the travel. The new highway will cut the travel time to six to seven hours.
Why is Andhra Pradesh keen on the project?
The ruling YSRCP government is aggressively promoting ease of doing business and inviting big investments into Andhra Pradesh. For this, the government is setting up exclusive business districts. The access-controlled multi-lane highway provides a fast and safe route to Bengaluru — which has an international airport — from industrial hubs coming up in Guntur, Prakasam, Kurnool, Kadapa, and Anantapur, all within a 700-km range.
While the Chennai International Airport is closer, within a 500-km range, the NH 16 towards Chennai is already congested. The new project also brings the Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh, which is far away from major airports like Vijayawada or Hyderabad, closer to Bengaluru.
When will this highway be ready?
According to the Road Transport and Highways Ministry, the project will be finished in 2025-26. While Gadkari announced the construction of the highway two weeks back, his ministry has made changes in the original plan he approved in March 2017, when he agreed to a similar proposal made by then CM N Chandrababu Naidu.
In March 2017, the Centre had accepted a proposal by Naidu for a 394-km expressway from the proposed capital city Amaravati to Anantapur. This proposed highway did not have any access except at Kurnool and Kadapa.