CHENNAI: Two years after being brought under National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for widening, two highways running for about 144 km in western districts of the State had been returned back to the Tamil Nadu highways department.
The inordinate delay in developing the roads into four lanes by NHAI had been cited as one of the reasons for bringing the roads under State highways. The move seemingly planned at improving road connectivity towards Dharmapuri, Hosur and Bengaluru. A week ago the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari confirmed the development after meeting the Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami.
The Athur-Perambalur NH 176 (55.4 km) and Thoppur - Mettur - Bhavani - Erode NH 544H (89 km) will be widened by National Highways wing of State highways, said official sources. The up-gradation of Thoppur - Mettur - Bhavani - Erode NH would provide an alternative route in Bengaluru – Coimbatore road network.
Presently vehicles from Benglauru/Hosur reach Coimbatore via Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, Thoppur, Salem, Bhavani and Avinashi on Salem – Kochin NH 544. “The existing stretch from Thoppur and Erode has got seven meters width. After completing the paper works, the road will be upgraded into four lanes. Thereafter, vehicles from Dharmapuri can directly reach Bhavani via Thoppur and Mettur skipping Salem thereby cutting 25 km travel,” said a senior official from highways.
Considering the huge vehicle movement for heavy industries and agriculture in the corridor, the widening works would give impetus to the local economy along the stretch. Besides, reducing the travel time, the move would also decongest Salem – Kochi NH and Salem city.
Similarly, the upgradation of Athur - Perambalur NH 176 (55.4 km) would provide faster connectivity for vehicles coming from Perambur and Ariyalur towards Salem, Dharmapuri, Hosur, Bengaluru and Erode. “The widening plans will be decided after studying the vehicular traffic in the stretch.
Since several arterial roads connecting Salem city are being upgraded, the proposed road upgradation would provide wider road links for Perambalur to other parts of the State,” added the official. In 2017, along with the two stretches, the State government handed over Malur - Hosur - Rayakottai - Dharmapuri - Adhiyamankottai NH 844, Oragadam - Cheyyar - Thiruvannamalai - Harur (NH 179 B and Kumbakonam - Sirkazhi (NH 136 B) to NHAI for improvements. The road works are in different stages of upgrading.