Varanasi’s international airport is going to have a makeover. It is set to be the first airport in India to have a runway going over a national highway. Reports mention that the Lal Bahadur Shastri International airport in Babatpur has got the nod from the Airports Authority of India for the construction. This will help in keeping the alignment of the Varanasi-Lucknow highway unharmed.
According to reports, the current runway at the airport is planned to be expanded from 2,750 meters to 4,075 meters. The expansion will enable large cargo planes and Boeings to land at the airport. Following the construction, the highway will be converted to a four-lane road. Work on the runway and the underpass will reportedly go on simultaneously.
“It will be India’s first highway to pass under the runway of an airport. The proposed underpass will also solve the long-pending issue of deciding the alignment of NH-56, which is being converted into a four-lane road,” said NHAI director SB Singh to Times of India.
The plan to convert the NH-56 to a four-lane was proposed in 2004 and was approved by the UPA government in 2013. However, work was stalled as a railway track goes through the eastern side of the runway. Thus the expansion work can only take place on the western side.