One tunnel at Kuthiran opened for traffic

When one of the twin tunnels at Kuthiran opened for traffic on Saturday evening.  

Ending a wait lasting years, one of the twin tunnels at Kuthiran on the Thrissur-Palakkad National Highway in Kerala was opened for traffic.

Though the tunnel opening was expected on August 1, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari announced it opened on Twitter on Saturday itself.

“This is the first road tunnel in the State and will drastically improve connectivity to Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The 1.6 km is designed through the Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary,” he tweeted.

There was no official inauguration. District Collector Haritha V. Kumar and City Police Commissioner R. Aditya entered the tunnel first. Two-wheelers were allowed to enter the tunnel first followed by other vehicles.

Hundreds of motorists, who used to wait for hours at the traffic block at Kuthiran, heaved a sigh of relief. Kuthiran is a mountainous terrain on the Mannuthy-Wadakkanchery stretch of the Thrissur-Palakkad highway and is accident prone. In the event of accidents, traffic blocks occur on the stretch.

Serpentine queues of vehicles will form on both sides. Though the Mannuthy-Wadakkanchery six-lane work started in 2010, the tunnel work started only in 2016. The work was delayed for many reasons in various stages. Pragathi Engineering and Rail Project, the subcontractor which completed a major part of the tunnel, withdrew alleging that it was not paid by the main contractor.

The High Court intervened in the project many times. The tunnel will reduce the running time from Coimbatore to Kochi considerably.

Earlier, various departments, including the Fire and Rescue Services, finished fitness tests.

Public Works Minister P.A. Mohamed Riyas, who visited the tunnel many times, had announced that the tunnel would be opened in August. The contract company too announced the completion of the work and the final permission was expected from the Union Ministry next week.

However, Mr. Gadkari directed the National Highways Authority of India to open the tunnel from Palakkad towards Thrissur on Saturday evening.

A formal inaugural ceremony will be held after finishing both the tunnels. Toll collection will be started only after completing the second tunnel. Around 70 % of the second tunnel has been completed.

Govt. monitoring

The State government will ensure constant follow-up and monitoring to ensure the timely opening of the second tunnel at Kuthiran, Mr. Riyas said.

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Printable version | Sep 29, 2021 3:52:12 AM |

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