The Centre will bear the cost of Rs.180 crore
TIRUPUR: The widening and strengthening of the Coimbatore-Karur national highway (57) that connects Tamil Nadu's western and eastern parts has begun recently.
The project, which is executed by the National Highways Authority of India and which will be completed by July 2008, covers a distance of 114.6 km from the Karur by-pass road to the Coimbatore LT by-pass road.
The cost, including that of civil works and land, works out to Rs.180 crore, and it will be borne by the Centre. Hence, commuters need not pay any toll, sources say.
The stretch will be widened from 7 metres to 10 metres, with one-metre hard way on either side. A 30-km-long stretch of the road, covering important towns, will have a four-lane configuration, and the remaining portion a two-lane configuration.
SRC Projects Limited, a Salem-based company, which has bagged the contract for both the Karur-Kangeyam and Coimbatore-Kangeyam packages, has deployed over 400 workers at six different locations. More than 40 engineers of a consulting firm are overseeing the works.
The sources say the survey for widening has been completed and approved by the authorities. Along with land acquisition, removal of electric and telephone polls, cables and pipelines and cutting of trees are under way. A total of 12 towns, including Sulur, Palladam, Kangeyam, Vellakkoil and Karur, will have four lanes, which will have road median.
A total of seven major and minor bridges and 170 culverts will be replaced. A senior official says the work will be executed as per the NHAI standards. By the year-end, a 40-km stretch would be ready. A total of 4,100 trees that obstruct the highway will be felled. To compensate the loss of green cover, the NHAI will plant over 12,000 saplings, the official says.
The project will facilitate an excellent connectivity between the pilgrim centres of Velankanni, Thanjavur, Nagore and Tiruchi and the western parts of Tamil Nadu, and Kerala.
Road without curves
The Coimbatore-Karur highway is famous for its curves, which cause frequent accidents and slow the speed of vehicles.
Once the upgrade is over, there will be no zigzags in the road, as all the 42 curves in the 114.6-km corridor will be straightened through acquisition of adjacent land.
A senior official says a driver can enjoy a minimum 500-metre viewpoint.
"This will ensure smooth and safe ride. Importantly, the number of accidents will come down considerably."
The residential and technical areas of the Air Force Station at Sulur, which remain divided by the highway, will be connected by a vehicular underpass (50 metre in length and 5.5 metre in height).