Kerala

NHAI to ensure time-bound completion of NH 544, NH 66 works

Works worth ₹34,972 crore are under way in 403 km of the national highway network in Kerala, Alka Upadhyaya, Chairperson of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), said here on Saturday.

She said this was out of 600-odd km of works sanctioned for the highway network in the State. A total of 177 km of highways had already been completed, while another six highway projects worth ₹21,271 crore for 187 km would be sanctioned this fiscal.

The projects on the anvil included the outer ring road project in Thiruvananthapuram, aimed at decongesting the city and to provide seamless connectivity to the upcoming (Vizhinjam) port, she told mediapersons.

She was speaking on the sidelines of a session on ‘Sustainability in construction – building better roads’ after inaugurating a two-day conference of the agency’s officers from southern India.

Ms. Upadhyaya said the proposed 120-km Palakkad-Malappuram-Kozhikode greenfield NH would lessen commuting time from three hours to 90 minutes. The other projects on the anvil were the 59-km Shencottai-Kollam greenfield NH and a 12-km elevated NH between Thuravur and Aroor in Alappuzha. They would boost the economy, apart from improving connectivity. Already, the Kuthiraan tunnel, the longest in India, was being used by 30,000 vehicles a day.

About overcoming the delay in the widening of NH 544 and NH 66, she said resources were being mobilised wherever possible to fast-track works. “We aspire to complete the project as per (revised) schedule and do not see any major hiccup. Each contract has its deadline and we will be monitoring the progress of works,” she said.

Blackspots

Referring to the 214 accident-prone ‘black spots’ on the State network, she said steps were under way to rectify 156 of them. Regional officers had been permitted to execute accident-prevention measures costing up to ₹50 crore to avoid procedural delays. A third-party audit too had been mandated.

The Chairperson said there would be no compromise on the serviceability of highways in the State, although they would have an average width of 45 m. Elevated stretches would be readied at congested areas.

Targets fixed

Elaborating on NH development works in Kerala, Member (Projects) of NHAI, R.K. Pandey said each work had been issued a deadline ranging from 24 months to 30 months. NH 66 would be 10-lane, including two-lane service roads on either side, becoming Kerala’s lifeline. NH 544 would be widened as six-lane. The highway-development works would complement other mobility projects, including those like SilverLine.

An open house to enable free-flowing discussions on sustainable NH development works is part of the conference.


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Printable version | May 28, 2022 11:01:30 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/nhai-to-ensure-time-bound-completion-of-nh-544-nh-66-works/article65470318.ece