Mangaluru, Dec 26, 2015: The NHAI - National Highways Authority of India commenced the collection of toll at the NITK, Surathkal, toll plaza,which has made road users and travellers unhappy. They question the rationale behind fixing abnormal toll fee for a distance of just about 18 km, which still remains incomplete at many locations.
A regular traveller from Mangaluru, said that he had to pay Rs. 70 for a two-way trip by car at the toll plaza. While the amount of toll fee is not at all justified for the 18 km stretch, work remains unfinished at many places even within this distance. General secretary of Bengaluru Tourist Taxi Owners Association travelling on this road says, the toll plaza operator or the NHAI has to provide several basic facilities, including vehicle lay-bays, safety facilities, suggestion/ complaint boxes etc. The quantum of toll is not all justifid, he said. On the other hand, a resident of Bengaluru, who often commutes here, said tolls are licensed robberies.
The eagerness shown by the NHAI in collecting the toll at Surathkal is not visible in addressing perennial woes of road users at two important junctions abutting Mangaluru on NH 66, which are part of the Port Connectivity Project—B.C. Road to Surathkal. Vehicular movement at Nantoor Junction, where the bypass for NH 75 (Mangaluru-Bengaluru Road) is built gets crippled very often, irrespective of whether it is peak or off peak hour or holiday or no holiday.
Though a grade separator/ flyover was proposed at the junction, the proposal is yet to see the light of the day even after five years thereby taking road users for a ride. One has to wait at least 20 minutes to negotiate the junction when there is a jam.
Similar is the situation at KPT Junction where the Bejai Main Road and Airport Road join NH 66 one of the busiest junctions in Mangaluru. NHAI has failed to solve the traffic snarls here by building a flyover or a grade separator. One keeps wondering the rationale behind building a massive flyover at Kuntikan Junction just about a km further, which does not witness heavy vehicular movement through the cross-roads (Bejai-Kavoor Road). At the same time, the flyover built on one carriageway (towards Udupi) at Kottara Chowki is riddled with flaws affecting movement of vehicles to and from Malemar, Lohith Nagar and surrounding areas. The service road at Kottara Chowki is often seen to be covered with many pot holes.