M.L.Melly Maitreyi

Hyderabad-Vijayawada widening work to begin by year-end

GMR Infrastructure to take up work on BOT basis

Four-laning from Malkapuram to Nandigama

HYDERABAD: The work on the much-delayed widening of Hyderabad-Vijayawada National Highway No.9 will begin before the end of the year with the National Highways Authority of India awarding the project to GMR group.

The 181- km long road, connecting the State capital to the coastal districts, was sanctioned under the National Highways Development Programme- Phase III around five years ago.

But the four-laning of arterial road with high density traffic ran into legal hurdles with several bidders vying for it and challenging the selection process.

The Rs.1,200 crore four- laning project would be taken up from 40th km near Malkapuram to 221 km mark at Nandigama and the LoI was given to the GMR Infrastructure Ltd. which won the project on a BOT basis through international competitive bidding, according to Engineer-in-Chief, R&B (NH), K.Siva Reddy.

The GMR will be given two-month time to enter into an agreement and six months to achieve financial closure. Thereafter the project would have to be completed in two-and-a-half years.

While the government would not make any investment, the BOT operator would get concession period of 25 years.

However, as the NH-9 is a high revenue -earning stretch, the government would get 32 per cent share in toll collection once the new road is ready for commercial operation, Mr. Reddy said.

The road to be built as per world-class specifications would cut down travel time and improve safety levels besides connecting two major economic hubs of State- Hyderabad and Vijayawada.

It would also be vital link in facilitating Kolkata – Bangalore traffic movement.

Kurnool-Kadapa road

Another important road work, the 190 km Kurnool-Kadapa stretch widening on NH-18 also to be taken up on BOT basis was awarded to KMC group.

The Rs. 1,740 crore project with a concession period of 23 years would get 39 per cent as viability gap funding from the Centre.

Both the projects would be reverted back to the government after the concession period.

R&B Minister Galla Aruna, who will formally assume charge on Friday, held a review meeting on Thursday and expressed happiness that NH-9 widening would become a reality now.