The Union Ministry of Surface Transport has given a green signal to take up feasibility study and to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) on the tunnel road bypass in Shiradi Ghat section of National Highway 48. The tunnel road bypass is expected to reduce the distance through the ghat from the present 26 km to 18 km and travelling time from 75 minutes to 30 minutes.
Public Works Minister Dr H C Mahadevappa told reporters on Friday: “Permission was given at a meeting of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways with other senior officials held in Delhi recently.’’
Mahadevappa said a team of experts from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) visited the Shiradi Ghat and submitted a preliminary report on the tunnel road bypass in February.
“Although, this is planned as a Rs 3,800-crore four-lane project, they will be taking up two-lane as pilot project at a cost of Rs 2,700 crore. The DPR preparation may require around one year,’’ he added.
Since the condition of road is very bad, the minister said the department has decided to repair 47 km of road in the Shiradi Ghat at a cost of Rs 25 crore.
This project has been submitted to the Union Surface Transport Ministry as one of the proposals for the year 2013-14.
“Although it was mandatory to repair this stretch of road once in three years, it has not been repaired for five years. Repair work would begin after the monsoon stops,’’ he said.
Mahadevappa said the National Highways Authority of India was preparing a detailed project report for a four-lane permanent road from Hassan to B C Road, a distance of 138 km. They would require clearances from forest department as the tunnel road passes through forests and ecologically sensitive areas.
‘’This project may take off after two years. It will be placed before the PPP Appraisal Committee and then executed on BOT model. NHAI authorities have asked the state government to get clearances for this project at the earliest,’’ he said.
Admitting that the condition of nearly 10,000 km roads in the state was very bad, Mahadevappa said of the total 75,000 km roads, 49,000 km roads falls under major district roads, 20,000 km state highways and 5,000 km national highways. ‘’The department requires nearly Rs 1,200 crore to fix potholes. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will review the department in the first week of next month during which the government will be requested to release the amount,’’ he stated, adding, “Rains are expected in the month of September. Repair works will begin after the rains stop.”