NHAI proposes Tamil Nadu's first animal underpass in Dindigul district

Though 3 animal underpasses at Natham and Thuvarankurichi on the same road in the district have already been approved, NHAI officials said the Alagarmalai pass will be the first one to be put to use.

Published: 25th June 2022 01:20 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th June 2022 09:10 PM   |  A+A-

National Highways Authority of India

National Highways Authority of India. (Photo | Twitter/@NHAI_Official)

Express News Service

DINDIGUL: The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will soon send a proposal to the State Forest Department for constructing an animal underpass at a cost of Rs 3 crore between Alagarmalai and Usilampatti reserve forest area on NH 785 in Dindigul district within the next three to six months to reduce human-animal conflict. Though three animal underpasses at Natham and Thuvarankurichi on the same road in the district have already been approved, NHAI officials said the Alagarmalai pass will be the first one to be put to use in Tamil Nadu. 

"Forest officials wanted a 250-metre-long dedicated animal passage when NHAI approached the department for laying roads within the forest area in 2017-18,” NHAI officials said.

Though the Dindigul forest range is not home to large wild cats or elephants, it has hares, bison, slender loris, jackals, bores and snakes. The project will have solid fencing and natural habitat for these animals. "Sand, trees and grass will be part of the underpass structure and vehicles can use the road above,” the official said.

District Forest Officer S Prabhu said the bridge would be a sustainable model of development for preventing man-animal conflict. "A 600-metre road stretch on NH 785 falls under reserve forest area. About 1.5 km-long animal-friendly fencings will be built by the forest department along the underpass. Water sprinklers and overhead tank will also be built. In order to provide fodder for animals, fruit-bearing trees and grasses will be grown. Other provisions include barriers for smell, noise and light and sign boards for vehicles," he added.

Prabhu also said about 628-metre stretch on Natham-Thuvarankurichi road will come under reserve forest area and three underpasses will be built on the stretch following the same construction model. "Each underpass will be 150-metre long and three-and-a-half metre wide,” he added. Earlier this year, NHAI had proposed to construct an animal overpass at Wavuthamalai reserve forest range that borders Madurai and Dindigul districts.



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