S. Anil Radhakrishnan
Report submitted to the Public Works Department for implementation
Thiruvananthapuram: The alignment for the 627.4-km second stretch of the Hill Highway extending from Kallingal in Palakkad to Parassala in Thiruvananthapuram district, which ensures a continuous road link through the hilly regions, has been finalised.
The alignment for the second phase of the 1,157.1-km hill highway corridor between Kasaragod and Thiruvananthapuram, which is estimated to cost Rs.600.85 crores, has been worked out by the National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (Natpac), based on detailed field studies, and technical, economic, social and environmental considerations.
"The report had been submitted to the Public Works Department for implementation. The 627.4-km second phase of the project will cost Rs.310.89 crores," T. Elangovan, former director, Natpac, who headed the 14-member study team, told The Hindu .
The existing State highways, major district roads and other road networks have been used to the extent possible in fixing the final alignment. The distance from Wayanad to Thrissur and Ernakulam will be reduced by 70 km. The second phase from Palakkad to Thiruvananthapuram district will not touch the coastal district of Alappuzha.
The final route for the second phase of the project will pass through Palakkad, Kallingal, Anikode, Pudunagaram, Kollencode, Nenmara, Karappara and Orukombankutti (total 100.35 km). In Thrissur district, it will pass through Vazhachal, Athirappally and Vettilappara Ferry (40.5 km).
In Ernakulam, the hill highway will pass through Adivaram, Illithode, Vadakkumpally Ferry, Chettinada, Panankuzhy, Kottappady, Chelad, Punnakkadu, Thattekad, Kuttampuzha and Pooyamkutty (82.6 km). In Idukki, it will pass through Peerumbankuthu, Mankulam, Kallar, Iruttikanam, Anachal, Kunchithanni, Rakakkad, Kuthunkal, Myladumpara, Nedumkandam, Kattapana, Ealappara, Kuttikanam and Mundakayam (178.6 km).
The highway will pass through Erumeli and Plachery in Kottayam district (25.5 km), Ranni, Kumbazha, Konni and Pathanapuram in Pathanamthitta district (50.25 km), and Punalur, Agasthyacode, Alanchery, Kulathapuzha, Madathara and Kollayil in Kollam district (63.25 km).
In Thiruvananthapuram district, the hill highway corridor will pass through Palode, Peringamala, Vithura, Aryanad, Kallikad, Vazhichal, Amboori, Kudappanamooodu, Vellarada, Karakonam and end at Parassala (total 86.35 km).
The former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had kicked off the work on the first phase of the Hill Highway corridor, extending from Kasaragod to Palakkad, in 2005.
The first phase includes the 111.2-km loop road for Kozhikode district, to be constructed at a cost of Rs.110.29 crores.
Apart from providing quick access from the financially backward districts to Central and South Kerala, the corridor will act as a catalyst for the overall socio-economic development of the hilly regions and provide a big boost to the tourism sector in the State.
It will help the farmers to get better and reasonable price for their produce. It will also save time as the highway will offer better connectivity to the feeder roads.