The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has approved a feasibility study for a tunnel road bypass in the Shiradi Ghat section of National Highway 48.

Minister for Public Works H.C. Mahadevappa, who submitted various road project proposals to Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Oscar Fernandes in New Delhi recently, told presspersons here that the Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry, on August 13, decided to accord in-principle approval for feasibility and detailed engineering studies with regard to the tunnel road bypass in the Shiradi Ghat section.

In February, a team of experts from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) visited the Shiradi Ghat and submitted a preliminary report on a 18.5-km tunnel road bypass. As pre the JICA estimates, a four-lane project would cost Rs. 3,800 crore. On a pilot basis, a two-lane project could be taken up, and it would cost Rs. 2,700 crore.

A detailed project report may require one year, he added.

According to sources in the department, traffic density on this stretch is between 18,000 and 20,000 passenger car unit (PCU) a day. Shiradi Ghat is a major link to various commercial and religious centres in coastal Karnataka, including Mangalore, Dharmasthala, Kukke Subrahmanya and Udupi. More than 1,000 taxis ply between the hinterland and the coastal districts every day.

In view of the poor condition of the Shiradi Ghat stretch, the Minister said, the department has decided to repair the 47-km road at a cost of Rs. 28 crore.

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