Work on widening Chennai-Kolkata national highway from four to six lanes from Chilakaluripet to Nellore via Ongole over a distance of 183 km would begin in the next one month.

The work estimated to cost Rs. 1,535 crore has been awarded to Simhapuri Expressways Limited for development on Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis, said C.V.N. Sarma, Project Director, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), Vijayawada who is in-charge for Nellore circle.

The contractor has mobilised men and machinery in the last six months as part of pre-construction activity. The NHAI would now hand over the land to him and give date for commencing the work. Mr. Sarma said that NHAI is in possession of 80 per cent land required for widening work and started work to acquire the balance of land. It has started work on felling of trees, removal of electric and telephone poles or any structure coming in the way of widening work.

The contractor is expected to complete the work in 30 months. The government would provide Rs. 160 crore as gap funding for the project. The contractor would spend the balance from his own funds and recover the amount with profit by collecting toll for the next 20 years.