Mangaluru, July 07, 2016: With the four-lane project of NH 66 between Talapady in Dakshina Kannada and Kundapura in Udupi districts nearing a finish, the NHAI, National Highways Authority of India has commenced preparations to collect road user fee (toll) on the highway.
The completed stretches of the road are being provided with different road signage, including distance indicators, name boards, reflective painting on medians, cat-eye reflectors at junctions and pedestrian crossings and many more.
The 90-km stretch of the newly four-laned road is not yet complete with bottlenecks remaining in between. The flyover at Thokkottu Junction, off Mangaluru, to facilitate smooth flow of vehicles at the junction of the NH with Konaje road, is just limping ahead. Similar is the case with the all important Bhagawan Mahaveer (Pumpwell) Circle at Mangaluru where NH 66, NH 75 (Mangaluru-Bengaluru) and the main exit road from Mangaluru city meet. The work on the flyover at this circle too has been witnessing slow progress.
Still ahead, about 2-km stretch of NH 66 in Padubidri town has remained in shambles for many years due to a controversy over the location of the widened road. While certain groups wanted the highway to pass through a bypass, some other groups wanted it pass through the original location, within the town, itself. Finally, those arguing in favour of the highway within the town to save several dwellings from a bypass appear to have won and the work within the town limits is yet to commence.
Work on the flyover at Karavali Circle in Udupi too is yet to be completed. NHAI’s Mangaluru Project Director Z. Samson Vijay Kumar is reported to have said that his office had sent a proposal to the headquarters to issue a notification on toll collection. However, fee would be collected on calculations based on completed stretches, not for incomplete stretches, Vijay Kumar clarified.
Toll collection by the Navayuga Toll Road Company, which had built the four-lane road, was likely to commence in about one-and-a-half months, he said. A proposal had been sent to NHAI headquarters for issuing the notifications it is saaid.
Meanwhile, pending works at Thokkottu, Pumpwell, Padubidri and Karavali Circle, would get completed by December, he added. Nalin Kumar Kateel, MP, however, said that the NHAI would not be allowed to collect toll on piecemeal basis and indicated that toll could be collected only after completion of the project.