With a little over a month (mid-June) remaining for the completion of five years since the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) began widening the stretch between Surathkal and B.C. Road into four lanes, it has now invited bids for constructing two additional railway overpasses and a railway underpass on this stretch.

Portions of the national highways 17, 13 and 48 that lie between this stretch are being upgraded to four lanes under the port connectivity project of the Union Government.

The additional railway overpasses or railway over bridges (RoBs) will come up at Baikampady on NH 17 and B.C. Road on NH 48. The railway underpass or the railway under bridge (RuB) will be constructed at Padil on NH 48, sources in the NHAI told The Hindu.

Apart from the railway overpass at Baikampady, there will be an underpass for vehicles, connecting the New Mangalore Port yard with the Baikampady Industrial Area.

At present, there is no such underpass there. A road parallel to the existing railway line will also be laid. When the RoB and a vehicular underpass get ready, traffic will not be allowed to cross the NH 17 from the yard to the industrial area and vice versa. Later, they will have to use the underpass, sources said.

The existing RoBs at Baikampady and B.C. Road and the RuB at Padil were constructed when the highways were two-lane ones. The NHAI will construct two more RoBs and another RuB parallel to the existing ones for facilitating smooth flow of traffic, as the highways are being upgraded to four lanes.

Sources said that earlier, the IRCON International Ltd., a Railway undertaking which has been assigned with the four-laning works, had agreed, in principle, to construct the RoBs and the RuB. But, it was not binding on its part because it was not a part of the specific contract agreement. However, the NHAI was hoping that the railway undertaking would ultimately agree to take up this work too as its authorities were positive about such a possibility.

Since IRCON International Ltd. is a railway undertaking, the NHAI was of the view that the former will be in a better position to convince the railways and sort out any issues that may come up while taking up these works.

But, the company authorities recently indicated that they were not interested in taking up the three works. Hence, the NHAI decided to invite bids for the three works in April.

Sources said that of the 37-km-long stretch that had to be converted into four lanes between Surathkal and B.C. Road, the work on a 29-km stretch has almost been completed and only the last layer of some stretches had to be tarred.

B.C. Road flyover

They said that the B.C. Road flyover was not progressing at the expected pace because the State Government was yet to disburse the compensation to a few land-losers. The NHAI had deposited the requisite amount with the State one-and-a-half years ago, they said.

Keywords: Highway project

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