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Restoration works on NH likely to be completed by February

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Inspection: The Chief General Manager, NHAI, S.S. Singhvi at Manthada on the Ooty-Coonoor National Highway on Sunday.
Inspection: The Chief General Manager, NHAI, S.S. Singhvi at Manthada on the Ooty-Coonoor National Highway on Sunday.

Special Correspondent

As soon as the road is made safe, it will be thrown open for descending traffic

Udhagamandalam: Permanent restoration works on the badly-damaged Ooty-Mettupalayam National Highway are expected to be completed by February 2010, said the Chief General Manager, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), S.S.Singhvi, here on Sunday.

He told reporters at Manthada near here that as soon as the road was made safe, it would be thrown open for descending traffic. Only passenger vehicles would be allowed.

Pointing out that landslides had occurred at about 120 places and 32 retaining walls had been damaged, he said that the permanent restoration works were expected to cost about Rs. 15 crore.

Expressing the view that long-term safety on the road could be ensured only by making it a one-way road permanently, Mr. Singhvi said that it would considerably reduce the travelling time. He lamented that over the years it had been more abused than used.

Among the problems confronting the road were proliferation of encroachments and blockage of drains by constructions on steep slopes, he said and regretted that plastics were a major source of concern.

These had been brought to the attention of the State Government.

Union Highways Minister Kamal Nath had issued a directive to form coordination committees at the State-level to ensure proper maintenance of the National Highways, Mr. Singhvi added.

To a query, he said that heavy vehicles should not be allowed on Mettupalayam-Ooty road, which was one of the oldest roads in the country, and encroachments should be removed.

Traffic on the road had increased by over 200 per cent and awareness about its importance and past and present conditions should be enhanced among the people. The NHAI had so far spent about Rs. 80 crore on its maintenance, Mr. Singhvi said.

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