The state government has proposed a four-lane highway connecting the Vellore airport and Abdullapuram on the Chennai–Bengaluru National Highway as a permanent solution to reduce travel time to reach the airport.
Vellore DRO J Parthiban, who inspected the airport on Thursday, told DT Next that he would soon file a report to the government to ensure that the project work is expedited at the earliest.
Land acquisition for the four-lane road is the only permanent solution to reach the airport as the temporary road now planned on the fringes of the airport land is only to ensure that traffic will not be affected when the Anaicut road is closed for airport completion.
“Already 70 per cent of the land acquisition work for the proposed four-lane highway has been completed and we expect all work to be completed in a short time so that the project becomes operational,” official sources have revealed. “The four-lane highway when completed will ultimately connect the Vellore- Tiruvannamalai road enabling those from the Chennai highway to use this road to reach Tiruvannamalai without entering Vellore town, the officials added.
Meanwhile, highly-placed sources said no viability study has been conducted on whether the Bengaluru-Vellore-Chennai-Vellore-Bengaluru route as proposed will draw taxes. “The two-hour check-in time at Vellore airport plus the 40-minute travel time to Chennai and time taken to exit the Chennai airport will still be higher than using a taxi to reach Chennai from Vellore as also the cost involved,” they said.
Though the Airports Authority of India (AAI) demanded an additional 441 acres of land to extend the runway to bigger planes, it was given up when the state government requested the AAI to first make the facility operational.
“The AAI’s earlier proposal, if given effect to, could ensure that Vellore becomes a terminus for international flights with shuttle services being operated between Vellore and Chennai airports either through smaller aircraft or helicopters. This will in turn reduce congestion at Chennai airport. But all this will be possible only if the airport becomes operational first,” experts said.