Work on Kollam, Alappuzha bypasses to take EPC mode
Many hurdles have to be overcome for the completion of the Kollam and Alappuzha bypasses although the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has given the nod to the State’s proposal to complete them on a cost-sharing basis. The remaining work of the bypasses will be taken up in the Engineering, Procurement Construction (EPC) mode and the actual cost will be on the higher side as the consultant has given only a rough estimate to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
As the State has agreed to 50:50 cost-sharing, the cash-strapped government will have to mobilise half the cost in the coming years. Official sources told The Hindu that the contractor under the EPC mode will provide the actual cost for completing the work.
As per the Detailed Project Report (DPR) prepared by the consultant for the NHAI, Rs.518.50 crore was needed for the two bypasses. The cost is likely to go up and this is going to be a major challenge for the State although it can give the 50 per cent of the cost over the years.
The Kollam bypass will cost Rs.264.83 crore and Alappuzha Rs.253.83 crore as per the DPR. In the 13-km Kollam bypass, a 45-metre right of way is available for the entire stretch. Already, 4.80 km has been two-laned. A seven- metre two-lane carriageway, paved shoulders and earthen shoulders, three bridges, five culverts, one vehicle underpass, and five major intersections have been proposed.
Of the 6.80-km Alappuzha bypass, 5.46 km has already been two-laned. As much as 45 metres of right of way is available except in the 1.1 km that passes through the beach. A 1.1-km elevated highway has been proposed in the beach area and a seven-metre carriageway below it.
Two rail overbridges, three pedestrian underpasses, 14 culverts, and two major grade junctions have been proposed.
Although Chief Minister Oommen Chandy wanted the work to begin before Onam, it is to be delayed. NHAI Chairman R.P. Singh has already hinted that two-and-a-half months are needed for completing the formalities and kick off the work. The two bypasses may need at least three years for completion, sources said adding that if big players arrived, it could be brought down.
The bypasses will also be the first to go in the EPC mode following the directive of the Union Ministry. All works for improvement, development, and maintenance of roads and bridges on NH stretches passing through the State had been switched to the EPC mode instead of item rate contracts for faster rollout of the projects and time-bound completion.