Bangalore: Six years after it was conceived and three years after the Centre approved it, plans for the Metro Rail airport link remain on paper because Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) has not finalized the alignment.
The proposed line between Gottigere and Nagavara in Phase 2 of the Metro project is expected to run along Outer Ring Road till Hebbal. From Hebbal, the line is to be extended along Ballari Road till the airport as part of Phase 3.
In 2009-10, the state government constituted Bangalore Airport Rail Link Limited, which acquired a strip of land from National Highways Authority of India along Ballari Road from Hebbal to Trumpet Flyover, to construct a high-speed rail link to the airport. The link was to cut travel time from Mekhri Circle to the airport to 25 minutes and was estimated to cost Rs.5,767 crore. Later, BMRC was asked to take over the work and extend the Metro to Kempegowda International Airport (KIA).
BMRC has five choices for routes for the airport line but has not finalised any. Pradeep Singh Kharola, MD, BMRC, said: “RITES (a government institute specializing in transport infrastructure) has done a feasibility study and we are going through the proposals. We have still not finalised the alignment of the airport link.”
Though land is has been acquired along Ballari Road, BMRC is keen to build the line through Kannuru to reduce the distance, cost and construction time as well as help Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) develop the area and push up land value.
Sources said BMRC had proposed to the government and BDA to extend the Metro line from Nagavara through Thanisandra, Begur and Kannuru. “We made the proposal to BDA because this part of north Bengaluru is seeing random urbanization but not fast growth. If BDA can develop the area around the Metro line under the transit-oriented development scheme, both BDA and BMRCL will benefit,” the spokesperson said.
There will be three stations as per the approved plan -at Hebbal, Yelahanka and KIA, but a station near Manyata Tech Park has not been approved yet. The airport link will be elevated, except for the station within KIA. The airport authorities are in talks with BMRC to build the underground station.