THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The work on the longest four-lane elevated highway in the state at Kazhakoottam here is nearing completion. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) expects the 2.72-km stretch to be commissioned by May-end. However, the construction of three proposed underpasses will start only after the elevated highway is opened for traffic. Of the 60 slabs to be laid atop the girders of the highway, 54 have already been laid.
Technopark authorities on Thursday met NHAI officials with a proposal to beautify the median beneath the elevated highway with lights, flowers and paintings on the pillars. Though NHAI gave in-principle approval for the same, the beautification work will commence only after the highway is thrown open.
NHAI project director P Pradeep said that 80 per cent of the work is over, with the remainder scheduled for completion in three months. This means the highway can be commissioned by May-end. “Right now, the process of laying slabs atop the girders is progressing.
Similarly, construction of the approach road at either end of the highway at CSI mission hospital and near Technopark phase III is also progressing fast. But, the underpasses will be taken up only later and the elevated highway can be opened for traffic by May without the underpasses, “ he said. Three low vehicle underpasses(LVUD) are scheduled to come up at Attinkuzhy, Technopark phase-III and Mukkolakkal to ensure risk-free crossing of the freeway. The state government has to foot the expenses of the highway. A source said that there has been some delay in releasing the fund to the NHAI and this led to an uncertainty on the underpasses. The elevated highway is being built under the Bharatmala Pariyojana Scheme.
The proposal to set up streetlamps on NH 66 bypass median from Kazhakoottam to Vizhinjam through Public Private Participation (PPP) mode is hanging in the balance, due to the dispute between the corporation and NHAI. Earlier, TNIE reported that Adani and Lulu Group had come forward to erect streetlights on the condition that they be allowed to display their advertisement hoardings on streetlight poles.
According to the NHAI, corporation should submit a proposal on the PPP project. But, the corporation has sent only two letters to the NHAI. Under the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways(Morth) guidelines, streetlight poles carrying advertisements can be set up on traffic medians. Corporation officials said that the corporation did propose the PPP mode and a letter is sufficient for securing the necessary approval. However, NHAI stated that the work on erecting streetlights from Thampuranmukku to Chackai is on, as part of its initiative to erect streetlights at major junctions and accident spots. An NHAI source said that more than 75 streetlights will be set up along the stretch.