THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The four-lane widening works of the second reach of the Karamana-Kaliyikkavila highway stretch in the district from Pravachambalam to Kodinada in Balaramapuram has finally gathered pace. Earlier, the dearth of labourers due to Covid-19 infection and intermittent rainfall had affected the works. The widening of the 5.5-kilometre stretch has come to a standstill for more than two months due to Covid lockdown and heavy rainfall.
According to Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society (ULCCS) Ltd , there was a huge dip in the number of labourers from the actual strength of 350 to merely 70. This had affected the work. The intermittent rain in the past three months and the declaration of containment zone on the two sides of the stretch also compounded the issue.
However, the contractor has started efforts to bring in more workers to the site. According to M Bijesh, ULCCS project engineer, the development works are in progress and it is expected to be completed in January 2021. “We are currently working on to commission the stretch in January itself. In fact, the stretch could have been opened by this time if there was no lockdown.
Though there were many hurdles such as infection,. rainfall and absence of sufficient workers, efforts are on to complete the works at the earliest. We also expect to bring in more workers in the next 15 days,” he said.As per current status, the bridge at Pallichal was completed and tarring of the stretch from Kodinada in Balaramapuram to Pallichal has also been completed. The tarring is to begin from Palichal to Pravachambalam junction. The work of median is also in progress from Vedivachanakovil to Pallichal. The median from Kodinada to Vedivachanakovil was completed. Unlike in the first reach, street lights will be erected on the median in the second reach.
The ULCCS has already constructed the footpath, retaining walls and drains. It won the agreement for the widening of the stretch from Pravachambalam to Kodinada on an estimate of `112 crore in June last year. However, the work lagged due to delay in shifting of utilities and completion of land acquisition works. The land was handed over after completing the acquisition procedures at Old Rajapatha of Pravachambalam five months ago.
The widening of the stretch from Karamana to Kaliyikkavila near Kerala-Tamil Nadu border was a long-standing demand due to frequent traffic congestion at Balaramapuram, Neyyattinkara and Parassala. Though the National Highways Authority of India is developing a bypass (NH-66 stretch from Kazhakoottam to Karode in Tamil Nadu) simultaneously, the commuters prefer the previous stretch due to full-fledged commercial activities on the two sides of the road. The first reach from Neeramankara to Pravachambalam was commissioned in March 2016 by the UDF government.
Stretching so long...
Widening of the 5.5-kilometre stretch from Pravachambalam to Kodinada in Balaramapuram had come to a standstill for more than two months due to Covid lockdown and heavy rainfall.
The work of the second phase is undertaken by Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society (ULCCS) Ltd
The first reach from Neeramankara to Pravachambalam was commissioned in March 2016 by the Oommen Chandy-led UDF government
The widening of the stretch from Karamana to Kaliyikkavila near Kerala-Tamil Nadu border was a long-standing demand due to frequent traffic congestion at Balaramapuram, Neyyattinkara and Parassala