BHUBANESWAR: In a first for Odisha, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is going to construct two big tunnels in southern region of the State as part of the 465 km Raipur-Visakhapatnam Economic Corridor.
Approved under Bharatmala Pariyojana Phase-I, the Rs 20,000 crore six-lane national highway project being built in hybrid annuity mode will pass through Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.
While the highest 240 km will be built in Odisha at an estimated cost of around Rs 10,000 crore, Chhattisgarh has its share of 125 km and the rest 100 km falls in AP.
The Centre recently approved Kaliagura-Baunsaguar section of the NH in the State to be built at an estimated cost of Rs 1,539 crore.
The corridor will run through Koraput and Nabarangpur districts and intersect two existing highways near Kunduli and Kamara.
As per the detailed project report (DPR), two tunnels of around five km will be constructed in the mountain ranges of Eastern Ghats. This is for the first time that road tunnels will be built in the State.
NHAI chief general manager (technical) Ram Prasad Panda said the tunnels measuring around 3.5 km and 1.5 km will be built in Sunki ghati.
“Tender process for the tunnels will begin once the design and estimates are finalised,” he told The New Indian Express.
The highway has 124 km in Nabarangpur district and 116 km in Koraput. Acquisition of land, forest and environment clearances are in different stages of approval.
Around 1,633 ha of land, including 864 ha of private, will be acquired in the State for the highway named as NH-130 CD.
The entire stretch has been divided into 19 civil packages in the three states, including 11 in Odisha.
“Land acquisition has already started and it is expected to be over in next two months. Simultaneously, diversion of forest land is also under process. Tenders for four packages have been finalised and contracts awarded. Bids for two packages are under process. The rest will be taken up soon,” Panda added.
Financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the NH will improve the efficiency of freight movement and boost exports besides easing traffic.
The greenfield project that starts from Abhanpur near Raipur in Chhattisgarh and ends at Sabbavaram in AP is targeted to be completed by 2025.