NHAI likely to take up only strengthening and special repairs

The much-demanded widening of the National Highway (NH) 67 stretch between Narasimhanaikenpalayam and Mettupalayam and at Sulur may not happen immediately, as the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is likely to take up only strengthening and special repairs.

According to an official of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), it will prepare the estimates and proposals to strengthen and carry out special repairs of the road.

The NH 67, from the Trichy Road junction near Sinthamanipudur to Mettupalayam, connects Coimbatore with The Nilgiris. It is likely to be maintained by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) though it was earlier suggested that the stretch should be entrusted to the State Government for maintenance and development.

K. Kathirmathiyon, member of District Road Safety Council and secretary of Coimbatore Consumer Cause, says that if the road remains with the NHAI, the public would be affected. The NHAI would be able to only maintain the road and not take up widening works as it is a “non-project” road. Further, if there was a need for any immediate work on the road, the NHAI here would not be in a position to execute it immediately as it needs the approval and fund sanction from its head office. Since the NHAI had earlier suggested that the stretch be handed over to the State Government, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways should consider this. The State Government should also take up the issue with the Union Government and take over the road for development, he said.

The NH 67 here consists of two stages — Coimbatore to Mettupalayam (54 km) and Mettupalayam to Kakanallah (114 km). The State Highways Department (National Highways wing) had widened 20 km of the road (Coimbatore to Narasimhanaickenpalayam) at a cost of nearly Rs. 50 crore about a year-hand-a-half ago and it was maintaining the stretch now.

The NHAI had a proposal for a bypass road from Kangeyampalayam to Mettupalayam. Hence, it had not taken up widening of the remaining stretch. Two months ago, it decided to withdraw from the project and therefore suggested to the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in August this year that the stretch till Mettupalayam should be entrusted to the State Government for maintenance and development.

The NHAI has now said that the suggestion to entrust the road to the State Government would be considered by the Ministry. However, it was likely that the NHAI would continue to maintain the road and hence, estimates should be prepared to strengthen it.

More In: Coimbatore