Thiruvananthapuram

No more toll collection at Akkulam bridge

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: Toll collection at the Akkulam bridge along the Kazhakuttam-Karode NH 66 bypass will be stopped from Friday. Toll was collected from motorists using the bridge for the last eight years.

The decision not to levy toll was taken on a directive issued by Minister for Public Works. G. Sudhakaran.

The decision has come as a relief to road users, especially the employees of the IT firms at Technopark and long-distance travellers.

Although the 9-metre bridge was constructed in 2000 by the Public Works Department (PWD), the toll collection began only in 2008. Law and order issues involving the employees and complaints of overcharging the motorists were a regular feature at the toll booth.

In 2013, the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) had carried out surprise inspections at the toll gate following a spate of complaints from the public. The VACB found that the collection records were rarely updated and on certain days, not maintained at all. The Lok Ayukta had also taken up the issue.

A new 10.5 metre-wide and 365 metre-long is being constructed by the NHAI on the right side of the existing bridge as part of the four-laning of the corridor. The NHAI had asked the PWD to handover the toll collection being done by a private party for the PWD (NH) wing to them.

Shashi Tharoor's plea

During the inauguration of the Kazhakuttam-Mukkola road-widening project last year, Shashi Tharoor, MP, had requested Union Transport Minisiter Nitin Gadkari to stop the toll collection till the four-laning works were completed.

The respite is temporary as motorists would have to pay the toll once for moving along the bypass corridor after the four-laning of the Reach I from Kazhakuttam to Mukkola is completed by the EPC contractor.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 4:19:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/No-more-toll-collection-at-Akkulam-bridge/article14630639.ece

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