Since 2008–09, we have done resurfacing and minor repairs twice, says an NHAI official

Travelling on the pothole-ridden Shiradi Ghat stretch of the Bangalore-Mangalore Highway (NH48) during the monsoon continues to be a nightmare. Many travellers prefer luxury buses or sport utility vehicles (SUVs) to avoid the discomfort.

Besides buses, hundreds of lorries carrying heavy goods and fuel ply on this stretch.

The stretch that is part of the Western Ghats receives heavy rains that leave the road damaged during the monsoon. “The road is damaged to such an extent that even travelling by luxury buses is not comfortable sometimes,” Prashanth Bhat, a native of Mangalore, who frequently travels on this road, said.

Extra charge

Taxi drivers charge more for travelling on this stretch. “Once we travel on the stretch, the vehicle has to be taken to garage for servicing. It reduces the mileage too. We charge 50 paisa extra per km if we have to travel on this stretch,” Kumar G., taxi driver in Hassan, said.

When he was returning to Hassan from Dharmasthala on Monday, he saw four lorries and two cars stuck on the stretch and drivers busy replacing flat tyres.

The National Highway wing of the Public Works Department repaired the road at a cost of Rs. 6 crore in 2011-12, and that too because of the pressure from the people.

“Since 2008-09, we have done resurfacing and minor repairs twice. We have not been able to do a proper repair to improve the condition,” said an official of NH subdivision in Hassan.

The official said that surface-level repairs would not help improve the quality of the road. He said a Rs. 28-crore estimate had been submitted to the National Highways Authority of India for road repair last year. It had not been approved as the NHAI had taken up widening of the highway from Hassan to B.C. Road. Considering that the improvement of the Shiradi Ghat stretch would also be part of the widening project, the proposal was turned down.

“We have received information that the NHAI is contemplating giving its nod for the estimate as road-widening work has been delayed,” he added.

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