However, national highways are better
Roads in the Malnad region of Shimoga district that connect the coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada are in a pathetic condition despite their annual maintenance.
On the other hand, those in the semi-Malnad region of the district are in a relatively better condition.
While Tirthahalli, Hosanagar and Sagar taluks fall in the Malnad region, Bhadravati, Shimoga, Shikaripur and Sorab taluks are in the semi-Malnad region.
Shimoga district is a major link between the northern and the central parts of the State and the coastal regions. The district has two national highways (NHs) and nine State highways (SHs). While the condition of Tumkur-Honnavar and Sholapur-Mangalore national highways passing through the district is good, that of the State highways is pathetic.
The Nagara-Mastikatte-Hulikal-Siddapura stretch of SH 26 that connects Ayanur in Shimoga district with Kundapur in Udupi district is filled with potholes. Nagaraj, a private bus driver, said that the stretch from Yadur to Hulikal via Mastikatte of SH 26 has become unmotorable.
He said: “Some potholes along this stretch are more than a foot deep. Every summer, the Public Works Department stops vehicular movement for 15 to 20 days for maintenance. They just fill the potholes. The bitumen roads cannot withstand the fury of the rain here. It is necessary to concretise the Nagara-Hulikal stretch.”
On the other hand, the protection walls on seven hairpin curves of the 14 on Agumbe Ghat are crumbling. While the upper part of the ghat lies in Shimoga district, the rest is in Udupi district. Though the ghat was closed for traffic last year for about a month and concrete was laid, the road condition has deteriorated.
Hasirumane Nandan, Agumbe Gram Panchayat member, told The Hindu that the protection walls should be repaired at the earliest to avoid landslips.
Otherwise, even a small misjudgment by drivers could result in a disaster, he said. Mr. Nandan said that hundreds of ambulances from Shimoga, Chikmagalur, Davangere and Haveri districts operate via this ghat road to Manipal and Mangalore daily.
The PWD should reconstruct the road with soil anchoring technology as promised by it earlier, he said.
Vehicular movement between Shimoga city and Tirthahalli on NH 13 is invariably affected during the monsoon when the Tunga inundates the road near Mandagadde. Nataraj, a Mandagadde resident, said that the government should elevate the road to avoid this problem.