The nation's first solar roof cycling track was opened here by Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MA&UD) Minister KT Rama Rao, marking a significant step toward an environmentally sustainable future in urban transportation. This cutting-edge track called Healthway is only the second of its kind worldwide. The track will be open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and is situated on the Outer Ring Road (ORR) between the main carriageway and service road, giving the devoted cycling community in the city a big boost. Additionally, it is a crucial step in the aim of making Hyderabad the nation's center for active mobility.
Speaking at the inauguration of the track, the Minister revealed plans to set up a similar track around the Gandipet Lake, and in Financial District and Neopolis areas. “This cycling track is a viable and self-sustaining project. The main goal here is to get our kids enthused about cycling and mobility so that they do not have any lifestyle-related illness in the future,” he said, adding that more sports facilities like skating ramps and tennis courts will be added along the track.
The 23-km path has two stretches a pink line of 8.5 km from Nanakramguda to Telangana State Police Academy and a blue line of 14.5 km from Kollur to Narsingi converging at Narsingi Junction with five different access points. It is a three-lane track that is 4.5 meters wide, with one meter of green space on either side. Spearheaded by Hyderabad Growth Corridor Limited (HGCL), a wing of Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA), the track is expected to become a prime hangout with facilities like ample parking space, surveillance cameras, food courts, drinking water, first aid, and restrooms. In a bid to make it easier for visitors; bicycle repair shops, along with cycle docking and rental stations and other services will also be made available.
Apart from protecting cyclists from the sun, rain, and other weather conditions; the solar roof panels and the track itself will isolate them from main traffic on the roads, enhancing safety. A total of 16,000 solar panels were installed in a record time of just 18 days. This will generate 16 megawatts (MW) of power which will be utilized to light up the track at night and is also expected to fulfill some other power requirements of ORR. The idea of building this track came when the MA&UD Minister spotted a tweet by noted environmentalist Erik Solheim that showcased the cycling track in South Korea between Daejeon and Sejong.