The State Highways Department has planned a joint inspection with officials of the Forest Department for development of an alternative road to Udhagamandalam from Karamadai.
An official of the Highways Department said that apart from the Coonoor and Kotagiri roads, the State Government had announced development of a third road to Udhagamandalam. Subsequent to the announcement, the State Highways Department conducted a survey and a detailed project report was prepared. This is being studied now.
The official said that so far the department has not received any objection to the road, which will be for 94 km. This is an existing road and includes 3.8 km stretch that belongs to the electricity department and another 19.8 km of road through reserved forest area in Coimbatore District.
The Highways Department has written to the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation for handing over the 3.8 km stretch for development.
Nearly 25 km in Coimbatore District and some distance in the Nilgiris District need to be widened and upgraded. The existing road in these parts is just 3.75 metres wide and it needs to be widened to 5.5 km. This will require acquiring some forest land, especially on the 19.8 km stretch. The bends and the road are not up to standards in some places and need to be upgraded. Since it passes through reserved forest area, a joint inspection will be conducted by officials of the Highways and Forest Departments.
If there are heavy rains or landslides on the Coonoor and Kotagiri roads, this will be an alternative. It will also benefit those in Kundah and Masinagudi areas. The detailed project report has to be approved, and after getting the required clearances, the State Government will give administrative sanction to the project. It is still in the preliminary stage and the project cost is yet to be finalised, the official said.