Work to begin in May with land acquisition proceedings almost over
Considerable progress has been made for the project to widen the 25-km Edappally-Kodungalloor NH 66 stretch into a six-lane highway, with a bulk of land acquisition proceedings over, following which widening and road construction work will begin in May, sources in the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) said.
This is part of the 164-km Edappally-Ramanattukara NH 66 stretch (of the Mumbai-Kanyakumari NH corridor), which falls under the Kochi project implementation unit of the NHAI that is awaiting six-laning. The stretch which begins at Edappally and ends at Ramanattukara in Kozhikode has been divided into five reaches. The portions north of the Edappally-Kodungallor stretch are Kodungalloor, Thalikulam, Kaprikkad, Valanchery, and Ramanattukara. The widening will be effected on either side of the existing NH corridor, with slight variations in alignment at a few places, mainly to straighten curves, the sources added.
The NHAI has deposited ₹2,400 crore of the total ₹3,200 crore needed for acquisition of 203 hectares, it is learnt.
The most critical in the Edappally-Ramanattukara NH 66 corridor is the widening of the 25-km Edappally-Kodungalloor stretch, which has been hanging fire since 2005. “Here, 22 hectares from areas falling under eight eight villages have been acquired, and the valuation of buildings on these lands is under way. Their compensation amount based on the valuation will be declared by the end of February. We have fixed a 30-month deadline to widen the congested corridor. This may go up to a maximum of 36 months,” NHAI sources said.
Simultaneously, work on the elevated six-lane highway on the busy 15-km, four-lane Aroor-Thuravoor NH 66 corridor too is expected to begin shortly. The project has to be completed in 36 months. The DPR consultant is in the process of finalising its design.
Meanwhile, the NH Samyukta Samara Samiti has reiterated its demand for an elevated highway in the 32-km-long Edappally-Moothakunnam NH 66 corridor, where people had surrendered land over two decades ago to build a 30-metre-wide highway. Accidents and snarls are the norm here, since the tarred portion of the road is hardly 10 metres wide, while the rest of the land is encroached upon or weed-infested.
“The very same people will have to be evicted yet again, if a 45-metre-wide NH is built here. This is a humanitarian crisis, and the NHAI must at least at this eleventh hour drop the widening plan and opt for an elevated highway,” said Hashim Chendampilly, chairman of the Samiti.
The NHAI will have to allot ₹2,794 crore for further widening the stretch into a 45-metre one. This includes ₹1,690 crore for land acquisition and ₹1,104 crore for road and bridge construction.
“An elevated highway can be built here at a cost of ₹2,287 crore, in which case the NHAI can save over ₹500 crore. This will lessen accidents too, since the elevated highway will be access-controlled, except every 5 km where a ramp will link it with the road beneath,” he added.
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