BHUBANESWAR: With Palasuni and Hanspal junctions in the Capital City continue to be vulnerable to fatal accidents, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) proposes to build underpass at the two places within two years.
Stating that the work for Hanspal underpass will commence within a week, NHAI sources said they have already acquired land worth `250 crore near the Hanspal Square close to the beginning of the Kuakhai Bridge. There is a slum in the NH land which houses around 20 families.
The authorities have proposed to the district administration to resettle the families at a site (belonging to the NHAI) in Rudrapur area. While there is no such provision in the NH Act to compensate land losers with alternate plots, the regional division of NHAI has taken the decision to expedite the underpass work, Project Director Vinay Bansal said. The underpass will be completed in five to six months, he added.
Once the new structure is fully operational, it will cater to the traffic coming from Bhubaneswar and Hi-Tech Hospital side. The vehicles coming from both ends will use the vehicular under pass (VUP) to cross over to the other side or connect to the highway. It will solve the problems of wrong side movement of traffic, incorrect compulsory right turn and uncontrolled pedestrian movement.
Similarly, the Palasuni section of NH 16 caters to the six-lane highway traffic from Bhubaneswar, which merges with four-lane Palasuni bridge. The highway has a gap in median between Rasulgarh flyover and Kuakhai bridge where service roads merge with the highway.
To facilitate movement of city traffic, bypassing the highway, the proposed underpass will be constructed under Palasuni bridge. The VUP will be developed between A1 (starting point) and Pier (1) of the bridge and connect with the service road parallel to the highway towards Bhubaneswar.
"The underpass will prevent contraflow of traffic from Cuttack side and movement of vehicles which take right turn to the service lanes. The U-turn at the median is a dangerous point. It will be eliminated soon,” claimed Bansal.
The stretch between Palasuni and Hanspal has five intersections and two black-spots at the T-junction in front of Saptasati Temple and Hanspal Square. In 2015, as many as 47 accidents were reported from this area out of which 17 cases were fatal and 77 persons were grievously injured. The NHAI and Commissionerate of Police claim that the accidents will be minimised to a significant extent once the two VUPs are operational.