Hassan: The Shiradi Ghat stretch of National Highway 75 is likely to be closed for about five months from December 15 to facilitate strengthening and concreting work at a cost of about Rs. 155 crore. The Public Works Department is working out a plan to publicise alternative routes for the benefit of commuters.
Earlier, the department had decided to close the ghat section from December 1. It was deferred at a recent meeting convened by Minister for Public Works H.C. Mahadevappa. The Minister directed the officials to close the road from December 15. He suggested senior officials of National Highway wing of the department to hold a meeting with the Deputy Commissioners of Hassan and Dakshina Kannada district in this regard. The meeting is expected to be held on December 1.
The project includes strengthening of a 21-km stretch and concreting another 26-km stretch. The department has taken up the work in two packages. “Tender process for the first package pertaining to a 13-km stretch from 216th to 237th on NH 75 has been completed. The project has been estimated to cost Rs. 69 crore. The second package of strengthening and concreting of the remaining 14-km-stretch has been estimated to cost Rs. 85 crores,” said C. Nataraju, Executive Engineer of National Highways in Mangaluru Division.
The national highway connecting Mangaluru and Bengaluru via Shiradi Ghat is a very busy stretch with a traffic density of 25,000 passenger car units (psus). When the road is closed for work, the vehicles will have to be diverted to alternative roads. “Light motor vehicles will have to take Charmadi Ghat route, while heavy motors will commute by Madikeri road. In addition, there is another alternative route that passes via Agumbe ghat in Shivamogga district. We will announce these arrangements soon,” Mr. Nataraj said. Regular commuters on this stretch have been demanding repair and strengthening of the Shiradi Ghat stretch for many years. Whenever the demand was intense, the government used to fill the potholes and upgrade it to be fit for vehicular movement. During the rainy season, potholes were surfacing on the road, making it unworthy of motoring.