The 26.7-km Reach I from Kazhakuttam to Mukkola of the 43-km Kazhakuttam-Karode NH 66 Bypass offers hassle-free connectivity to Thiruvananthapuram airport, Technopark, Kovalam, Akkulam tourist village and Shanghumughom. Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari inaugurated the Reach 1 through videoconference on Tuesday.
Besides decongesting the city, the project further boosts the prospects of the upcoming Vizhinjam seaport. The road connectivity to the seaport is from the 16.3 km Reach II from Mukkola to Karode.
The commissioning of the upcoming 2.7-km four-lane flyover at Kazhakuttam for hassle-free entry to Technopark in April 2021 and the Reach II will further decongest the city.
At ₹1,120.86 crore
The National Highways Authority of India that executed the four-laning in Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) mode, overcoming several hurdles, including opposition from the local residents, saw the cost of the NH four-laning going up from ₹778.41 crore sanctioned for construction and ancillary works in 2015 to ₹1,120.86 crore in 2020.
Construction of the 1.6-km four-lane flyover in front of the airport at ₹142 crore, a two-lane bridge parallel to the existing one at Akkulam and the rail overbridge at Chakka were the main hurdles.
In his address, Mr. Gadkari said the bypass project would increase transportation efficiency, decrease transportation cost and enhance the infrastructural development thereby boosting overall development of the region, reducing accidents, providing connectivity to tourist destinations and historical/religious places.
The shelving of the overpass at Eenchakkal Junction is going to be a major headache for traffic personnel.
As the NHAI has initiated steps to collect toll by setting up toll plaza near Thiruvallam, the response from the motorists is eagerly awaited. The Hyderabad-based KNR Constructions Ltd. executed the work of Reach I.