VISAKHAPATNAM : For easy access between Visakhapatnam and Chhattisgarh’s capital Raipur, the Central Government has taken up the four-laning of National Highway 43 (NH-43) which is now renumbered as NH-26. The initiative is expected to boost economic activity between Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. While Visakhapatnam would get fresh business opportunities, Chhattisgarh will get access to the port and the international airport in Andhra Pradesh.
To a request made by Visakhapatnam MP K Haribabu a few months ago, Union minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari wrote back recently and informed that the works pertaining to the four-laning had been sanctioned from the milestones between 552 km and 563 km on the Raipur-Visakhapatnam of NH-26, at a cost of `84.12 crore. “Further, the alignment of Vizianagaram bypass on NH-26 has been approved and the construction work will be taken up after completion of a detailed project report, land acquisition and shifting of utilities,” Gadkari stated. Haribabu took up the issue with the Central Government and sought funding for the project. “Visakhapatnam is the biggest city in the truncated Andhra Pradesh and has the major port on the East Coast which is equidistant from Chennai and Kolkata. Further, the city also has an international airport where the cargo terminal is expected to be operationalised soon,” he explained in the letter written to Gadkari. He proposed the four-laning works as it would make Visakhapatnam easily accessible for export and import of goods for industries located in north Andhra, Odisha and Chhattisgarh. He pointed out that many industries abutting the NH-26 also will benefit from the decision.
Considering the Maoist activity in the border areas of AP, Odisha and Chhattisgarh, the stretch of NH-26 is considered safe, connecting Raipur and Visakhapatnam via north Andhra, Odisha and Chhattisgarh. The route also has only the Sunki ghat road compared to other routes which pass through hilly terrain. Heavy traffic can be witnessed along the road all through the year as the NH-26 would also connect to NH-16 between Chennai and Kolkata.