The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has decided to transfer the 130-km stretch between B.C. Road (near Mangalore) and Hassan on national highway 48 to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for improvement.

With this, the travails of travelling on the poorly-maintained Shiradi Ghat section between Hassan and Mangalore are expected to end.

In addition, the Ministry has decided to transfer nine other stretches on other national highways in the State, including the188-km stretch between Shimoga and Mangalore on NH 13, to the NHAI for improvement, official sources told The Hindu here.

All these stretches are presently maintained by the State Government through the State's National Highway Division under the Public Works Department.

All these stretches now “are being transferred to the NHAI for taking further necessary action,'' the sources said. The Ministry has written to the NHAI to this effect on March 16, 2010, sources said. All the 10 stretches have been identified for improvement under the Phase 4 A and Phase 4 B of the National Highways Development Project (NHDP). Of these two phases, the Union Government is yet to approve the Phase 4 B, they said. Sources said that the stretch between Shimoga and Mangalore on NH 13 has been identified for improvement first, under Phase 4 A. Except this, all other stretches have been identified for improvement under Phase 4 B, they said.

The other stretches “being transferred” for improvement and which will come under Phase 4 B are: Chitradurga and Hospet (119 km); Hospet and Bellary (73 km); Bellary and Gooty (77 km); Hospet-Hubli-Ankola (271 km); Gundlupet-Coimbatore (Kerala border - 26 km); Hoskote-Dabaspet (89 km); Tamil Nadu border-Bangalore (204 km) and Gulbarga-Bijapur-Humnabad (200 km). The major beneficiaries of this decision will be the people of Mangalore. This is because all the three national highways — NH 48, NH 17 and NH 13 — connecting Mangalore will come under the NHAI. When improved (likely to be made four lanes), these roads will strengthen the connectivity between the port city and hinterlands of the State and boost economic activities, sources said.

The NHAI is developing the stretch between Surathkal and B.C. Road covering NH 17 and NH 13 into four lanes. In addition, it has selected the bidder for widening the stretch between Surathkal and Kundapur on NH 17 and the one between Nanthoor and Talapady on NH 17 into four-lane roads and the land acquisition has begun.

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