Udupi, Feb 17, 2020: The district administration is planning to develop a 5km bicycle track on the Udupi-Manipal stretch of National Highway 169A here.
Presently, the work on the widening (four-laning) of this stretch is on. The construction of drains on either shoulders of this highway road is under progress.
As per the initial discussions on this matter held about a couple of months ago, the plan is to develop the track between the drainage (on which the footpath will be constructed) and the end of the road by installing interlocking tiles. “The intention is to develop the cycle track from Kadiyali to MIT Junction,” B. Sadashiva Prabhu, Additional Deputy Commissioner, said.
To develop this track, the administration is hinging its bets on Udupi being included under the ‘Smart City’ project. Even if Udupi is not included under it, the administration plans to arrange for funds from other schemes.
“The bicycle track project is still in its preliminary stages. It will take at least a couple of months for the construction of drains and installation of interlocking tiles on the shoulders of the stretch to be completed after which the project can be given a final shape,” he said.
An officer in the National Highways Division of Public Works Department, which is implementing the widening work of NH 169A, said that there was no provision for the track in the original plan.
“As the width of the shoulder by side of highway varies from two metres to seven metres on the stretch, the administration can develop a bicycle track on it,” he said.
The intention behind the proposed bicycle track is to encourage people to take up cycling. “It is an eco-friendly move and will save fossil fuel. It will motivate people to take up cycling. But the authorities should ensure that there are no obstacles on the bicycle track,” said Balakrishna Madodi, environmentalist and professor at Manipal Institute of Technology.
P.V. Bhandary, psychiatrist, said that it was a good initiative and the administration should pursue it rigourously. “If a good cycle track is developed, students will definitely take to it. Cycling has health benefits also. But the track should be safe enough to cycle,” he added.