I have lost count on the number of times I would have driven on the Bangalore – Mysore highway. The first time should have been a decade ago when I took my Maruti 800 to visit the Brindavan gardens. I have seen this highway evolve from the smooth 4 lane highway in 2009 to the overcrowded 4 lane highway of today. Though the road conditions are great, this highway needs an expansion plan as it cannot keep up with the growth of all the cities that it connects.
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A random trip to Mysore materialized when my wife accidentally redeemed her credit card points for a travel voucher, I still wonder how did she overlook those shopping vouchers 🙂 . The plan was to drive down to Mysore on a Saturday and return on a Sunday. Considering that it was a very short stay, we had limited our places to visit to the Palace and the Mysore zoo.
We followed the same routine – start early ( We started at 7AM ), take the NICE road and try to beat the city traffic. We were on the Mysore highway at around 7:30 AM. From my past experiences, I was not expecting to make good time until we cross Ramnagara. The traffic was not that bad as compared to our previous rides where we had to navigate through bumper to bumper traffic. That was during a long weekend and it seemed as though entire Bangalore was abandoning the city.
If you are driving on this highway, I would recommend you to keep reminding yourself that this is not an express highway. Please do not compare this with other 4 lane tolled highways. The lanes are pretty narrow and do not have a biker’s lane making it that much more tougher to overtake slow moving traffic.
For most part of the highway, this highway is a 2 lane highway considering that bikers take the slower lane for themselves and 4 wheeler are restricted to the high speed lane. So if you need to make a move on a slow moving vehicle, you will have to time your move through the biker’s lane, taking into consideration that you do not end up scraping either of the vehicles. I would infact rate this highway as one of the challenging ones, considering that there is practically no time for the driver to relax during the entire stretch.
The highway passes through so many cities (which have grown significantly over the years) that you will have to negotiate speed breakers, road barriers and signals. One of the most critical aspect that makes this highway tough to navigate is the mindset of the drivers. Well to make it clear, there are 2 sets of drivers on this highway, one who are cruising from Bangalore to holiday destinations like Mysore, Ooty, Coorg, Wayanad, Bandipur etc and the other are the locals who consider this as their city main roads.
Here lies the danger – someone who is cruising expects the traffic to follow certain highway rules and most of the mistakes happen because you cannot predict the behavior of those drivers who take this road everyday for daily commute. In-short, I would suggest you not to over-speed on this highway. This time around I saw 2 accidents, one where a truck had overturned and the other involved a group of cars.
With the rapid growth Bangalore and Mysore, this highway would be the lifeline connecting these cities. Kanakapura route is slowly becoming an alternate route and may infact be the faster option in the near future. Having said so, I still love driving on this highway as it takes you through the beautiful Cauvery belt which is so pleasing to your eyes. All you need is a bit of patience to navigate this beautiful highway.
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