The Rs. 2,400-crore project is expected to be completed in three years

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has awarded IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd. the contract for widening the 189-km stretch on the National Highway 66 from Kundapur to the Goa border, according to sources in the NHAI.

Sources told The Hindu that the NHAI had proposed to widen the stretch of the highway into four lanes under phase IV of the National Highways Development Project (NHDP).

The cost of the project had been estimated at Rs. 1,790 crore. It would be taken up under design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) basis. Meanwhile, the company informed the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on August 1 that it had received the Letter of Award (LoA) dated July 31, 2012 from the NHAI to this effect.

The company said: “…the NHAI has accepted four price bid and has declared us as the ‘selected bidder’ for the project…”

The company informed the BSE that according to it (IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd.) the cost of the project would be approximately Rs. 2,400 crore. The construction period would be 910 days. “The company has sought Rs. 536.22 crore as viability gap funding from the NHAI,” it said.

The stretch proposed for widening was part of the 296-km highway from Goa border (near Karwar) to Kerala border (near Talapady) in the State.

The stretch between Kundapur and Talapady, via Mangalore, on the same highway was now being widened by the NHAI under phase III of the NHDP. With the new project on the anvil, the highway passing through Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, and Uttara Kannada districts via Karwar, Ankola, Kumta, Honnavar, Bhatkal, Kundapur, Udupi, Surathkal, Mangalore, Thokkottu, and Talapady was all set to get a facelift.

New bridges for major rivers such as Sharavathi, Kali, and Aghanasini would have to be built under the project, sources said.

A main feature of the project was an elevated highway of 350-metre length and 12-metre width which would come up at Maravanthe, a tourist spot, where the existing highway passed through a narrow stretch between the sea and the river. The highway would be built along the river at about a metre height from the existing highway, sources said.

Quoting the final feasibility report of the project prepared by a private company, the sources said that 14 major bridges, 41 minor bridges, six road-over-bridges (RoBs), and three road-under-bridges (RuBs) would be built.

Four tunnels and an equal number of flyovers would be built. There would be 53 bus bays and four truck bays.

The Government would have to acquire 260 hectares of private land in 66 villages and 122 hectares of forestland for completing the project, the sources said.

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