The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has agreed to the State’s request for the phased development of five national highway (NH) stretches totalling 672 km at a cost of Rs.357.07 crore.
The Ministry has agreed to commence the work on the 13-km Kollam bypass and the 6.80-km Alappuzha bypass in the next two-and-a-half months on a 50:50 cost-sharing basis, between the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the State. Four-laning of the 44-km Kazhakuttam-Karode bypass will be taken up by the NHAI under the build, operate and transfer (BOT) concept, as it has already been approved as a package.
This was decided at a review meeting of the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) chaired by Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Oscar Fernandes and attended by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Union Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Sarvey Sathyanarayana, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation K.C. Venugopal, and Minister for Public Works V.K. Ebrahim Kunju here on Monday.
The five NH stretches that have been delinked from the NHDP are Bodimettu-Kundanoor (167.59 km), Kollam-Aryankavu (81.28 km), Kozhikode-Muthanga (117 km), Kozhikode-Palakkad (125.3 km), and Kollam-Kumily (189 km). The shoulders on these two-lane stretches will be developed with the Union Ministry’s funds and road-users will not have to pay any toll. For the Kollam bypass, an 8.2-km stretch, including three bridges, five culverts, one vehicle underpass, and five major junctions, has to be completed. Already, 4.80 km has been two-landed. The estimated cost, as per the detailed project report of the NHAI, is Rs.264.67 crore. A distance of 1.34 km, two rail overbridges, a seven-metre carriage provided below the elevated highway, three pedestrian underpasses, 14 culverts, and two major grade junctions have to be completed for the Alappuzha bypass, estimated to cost Rs.253.83 crore.
Issues regarding the Kozhikode bypass will be sorted out soon before going ahead with the project.
Mr. Chandy said his government wanted commencement of the work on the Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, and Alappuzha bypasses before Onam. The work on the Mannuthy-Walayar stretch will be expedited by the NHAI.
Replying to questions on the alignment of NH stretches proposed for development, Mr. Fernandes said the issues in the State have to be specially looked into as it is different from other States.
On the collection of toll on the roads developed by the NHAI, the Union Minister said the technicalities had to be studied and proper awareness created among the public. Drains need to be constructed in a scientific way for the upkeep of roads.