Mangaluru, April 24, 2017: Work on the flyover at Pumpwell (Bhagawan Mahaveer) Circle in Mangaluru is seen to be making no progress. Service roads too remain unfinished; deadline extended to December? As one enters Mangaluru and pays the toll fee, one will expect a smooth cruise along National Highway 66 till Kundapur.
But the reality is one encounters two-wheelers and four-wheelers violating the one-way rule after commencing the journey from Talapady. Vehicles move against the main traffic at Beeri, K.C. Road, Uchchila, Someshwara, Ullal, Padil, Nagori, Pumpwell and so on , service roads are yet to be built.
Driving further, one is caught in the mix of traffic coming from Ullal and Konaje after reaching Thokkottu Junction. The work on the flyover as well as the service road at this junction is still on with very few labour seen engaged in it.
Waiting for long to negotiate the Pumpwell (Bhagawan Mahaveer) Circle, the junction of NH 66 with NH 75 (Mangaluru-Bengaluru). Here too, work on the flyover has almost come to a standstill.
The journey ahead too is not smooth, as one is again caught in traffic snarls at Nanthoor Circle (Junction of NH 66 with Kadri bypass on NH 75 road) and KPT Junction (Junction of NH 66 with Bejai-Airport roads). These two junctions should have been provided with grade separators/ flyovers under the Port Connectivity Project, for which NHAI collects exorbitant toll fee at NITK Surathkal Toll Plaza.
Started in September 2010 at an estimated cost of Rs. 671 crore, the four-laning work on NH 66 between Talapady and Kundapur (90 km excluding 17 km between Nanthoor and NITK Surathkal, which was four-laned by NHAI under Port Connectivity Project) has missed several deadlines. The latest deadline of June 2017 too cannot be met, according to sources in NHAI. Nevertheless, NHAI permitted the concessionaire to collect toll from February this year.
Sources attribute the delay mainly to poor financial condition of the concessionaire, Navayuga Udupi Tollway Ltd., as well as handing over certain stretches of land by the district administration for construction of service roads.
The latest deadline being promised by NHAI is December 2017. However going by the speed at which work is going on and the forthcoming monsoon, it is unlikely that the December deadline too could be met, said Amogha Vigrama, a college student who regularly commutes between Mangaluru and Kasargod.