Four-laning work on NH 75 at standstill

Lorries and machines used for work on the NH 75 stretch are kept at Golithottu, Dakshina Kannada.

The four-laning of the National Highway 75 stretch from Addahole to B C Road – covering 63 km – has come to a standstill.

The work on the highway has been contracted to Larsen & Toubro Limited (L&T).

30 months

The four-laning of the concrete road was expected to have been complete within 30 months. The project was planned at a cost of Rs 821 crore and to be carried out under the engineering, procurement and construction mode (EPC). Also, the project comprised the construction of service road up to 14.5 km, two flyovers, two major bridges, 14 minor bridges and nine underpasses.

The foundation stone for the work was laid by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari at Panambur on March 28, 2017. The work should have been completed by September 23, 2019.

The contractor now has only 10 months to complete the work.

In the last 20 months, the contractor has cleared trees on the line and started the earthwork. Commuters on the stretch have said, “The incomplete work is causing inconvenience to users of the stretch from B C Road to Addahole. How many more years have we to continue facing the problem?”

Rain problems

The residents have alleged that the work was suspended ‘all of a sudden’. The incessant rain in the region had affected the stormwater drains that had already been constructed on the stretch. The contractor also incurred a loss as a result.

An officer, on condition of anonymity, however, told the DH correspondent, “Work worth Rs 145 crore has been taken up so far. The rest of the work will resume shortly.”

The officer said that additional land needs to be acquired for about 21 km and NHAI is yet to get forest clearance for the stretch.

“The proposed toll plaza site too has been changed, but an alternative site on the stretch is yet to be identified. The plans for the proposed flyover at Kalladka have been changed. In addition, it has been proposed to convert A-Grade junctions at Subrahmanya Cross, Puttur Cross, Melkar Junction and Narikombu (Panemangalore) to vehicular underpasses. Owing to technical glitches, the work has been put on hold,” the officer added.

Elephant underpasses

“NHAI is said to have asked L&T to widen some of the minor bridges. It was also proposed to widen three elephant underpasses between Addahole and Periyashanthi. As per the estimate, the area a pipe culvert needs to be laid in the area. The Forest Department, however, has raised objection to acquiring land in the area,” said the officer.

Sources also said that 31 pipe culverts had to be extended to the breadth of a four-lane road but did not have the required 900 mm diameter. L&T had proposed widening the culverts to 1.2 m diameter. The NHAI, however, turned down L&T’s demand to change the scope of the contract with additional works at a cost of Rs 108 crore as there had been an extension of 10% of the original contract, the sources added.

MP Nalin Kumar Kateel said, “The issue of work coming to a standstill has come to my notice. I had already spoken to the NHAI officials and the Union Minister. Necessary measures will be taken to solve the problem of land acquisition and the work will resume shortly.”

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Four-laning work on NH 75 at standstill

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