The 187-km stretch on the National Highway 66 between Kundapur and Goa border via Karwar is all set for widening with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) inviting bids (Request For Proposal) for taking up the work.

The last date for receiving the RFP would be March 30, 2012, according to a February 16, 2012, notification by the NHAI available in the public domain.

Official sources told The Hindu that the NHAI had invited bids after Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPAC), under the Union Department of Economic Affairs, Union Ministry of Finance, approved the project recently. The project would cost around Rs. 1,655 crore, they said.

PPAC is an inter-ministerial committee in charge of approving infrastructure projects. According to the February 16 notification by the NHAI, it had shortlisted 35 companies who were eligible for bidding for taking up the project.

The companies had been shortlisted after evaluating their December 5, 2011, applications for their request for qualification (RFQ) for bidding.

According to the notification, the stretch of the highway would be widened as four/six lanes under phase IV of the National Highways Development Project (NHDP). It would be taken up under Design, Build, Finance, Operate, and Transfer (DBFOT) Toll basis.

The stretch proposed for widening was part of the 296-km highway from Goa border (near Karwar) to Kerala border (near Talapady) in the State.

With the new project on the anvil, the highway passing through Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, and Uttara Kannada districts via Karwar, Ankola, Kumta, Honnavar, Bhatkal, Kundapur, Udupi, Surathkal, Mangalore, Thokkottu, and Talapady is all set to get a facelift.

A main feature under the project is an elevated highway of 350-metre length and 12-metre width which would come up at Maravanthe, a tourist spot, where the existing highway passes through a narrow stretch between the sea and the river.