Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway Nears Completion, Promises Faster Travel

The 262-km-long Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway (BCE) is on the verge of completion, bringing much-needed relief to motorists traveling between the two cities. This expressway is set to revolutionize travel, slashing the current 7-8 hour journey to a mere 2-2.5 hours. Not only does it reduce travel time, but it also shrinks the distance between Bengaluru and Chennai by a significant 80 km. With a permitted speed of 120 km/hr, the BCE promises to be a game-changer for commuters and businesses alike.

The expressway, officially designated NE-7, is a four-lane access-controlled road connecting Hoskote near Bengaluru, Karnataka, to Sriperumbudur near Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari announced on July 4th that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would inaugurate the Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway before December 2024. This marks a slight delay from the initial estimated completion date of March 2024.

The BCE project, built at a cost exceeding ₹ 17,930 crore, traverses three states: Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. The expressway passes through key cities including Hoskote, Malur, Bangarapet, Kolar Gold Fields, Venkatagirikota, Palamaner, Bangarupalem, Chittoor, Ranipet, and Sriperumbudur. To further enhance connectivity, the highway boasts an impressive eight lanes for 240 km, with an additional 22 km elevated stretch.

A significant component of the project is the 4-lane double-decker elevated road connecting Chennai Port to Maduravoyal for 21 km. Built at a cost of ₹ 5,850 crore, this crucial link will ensure a seamless flow of goods to the Chennai port. Additionally, the 94 km long highway from Neraluru to Dharmapuri (NH-844) has been constructed at a cost of approximately ₹ 3,870 crore. Complementing this, a 31 km 2-lane highway connecting Meensurutti to Chidambaram (NH-277) has been built at a cost of around ₹ 720 crore. These highways aim to provide uninterrupted connectivity within the region.

Currently, there are three existing routes connecting Bengaluru and Chennai: the Hosur and Krishnagiri/Golden Quadrilateral route, the Old Madras Road, and a third route passing through Kolar-KGF-Kota and Vellore. The Golden Quadrilateral route, spanning approximately 380 km, is the most frequently used of these three routes.

The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is spearheading the construction of this expressway under the Bharatmala Pariyojana program. Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation for the Bengaluru-Chennai Expressway in May 2022. The project was initially estimated to cost over ₹ 14,870 crore.

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