Bengaluru: The ambitious and long-pending eight-lane conversion of Mysuru-Bengaluru Highway will begin by January-end following an assurance of speedy clearance to the project by the Centre. The project will be taken up in two packages at a cost of Rs.4,149 crore, said Public Works Minister Dr. H.C. Mahadevappa.
Addressing press persons in Bengaluru yesterday, the Minister said that the Centre had given its nod for the project and it would be soon placed before the Union Cabinet. The project will be taken through a Hybrid Annuity Model, a new concept introduced by the Government to take up infrastructure projects.
The project will be split into two packages — Bengaluru-Nidaghatta (56.2 km) and Nidaghatta-Mysuru (64.14 km). While the first package will cost Rs. 1,980 crore, the second one will cost Rs. 2,169 crore.
The Union Government will fund 50% of the project and the State will raise the remaining funds, he said. The roads will have multiple toll collection booths. Six lanes will be part of the toll road, while two lanes will be service roads for towns along the Highways, where toll will not be collected. The new Highway is expected to cut the travel time between Bengaluru and Mysuru to 90 minutes. Toll booths will be set up at Bidadi, Ramanagaram, Channapatna, Maddur, Mandya and Srirangapatna. Users will have to pay only for the distance travelled rather than paying for the entire stretch.
“Projects below Rs. 2,000 crore can be cleared by the Union Transport Minister (Nitin Gadkari) and those above Rs.2,000 crore will need to be approved in the Union Cabinet. I have met Gadkari and he has assured clearance,” Dr. Mahadevappa said.
The State Government has also sought the Centre’s approval to upgrade Mysuru-Nanjangud-Gundlupet and Mysuru-Bantwal to National Highways. “We have proposed a Ring Road that will cost Rs.600 crore since these three National Highways touch Mysuru,” he said.
The State Government has been dragging its feet over the ambitious project of widening the Mysuru-Bengaluru Highway into an eight-lane express road. The widening is expected to reduce the travelling time between the two major cities considerably. Using the new road, travellers can zip between the two cities in just 90 minutes.
Karnataka had obtained permission to convert the existing State Highway into a National Highway during the last leg of UPA-2 Government three-years ago. However, inordinate delay in acquisition of land delayed the execution of the project.
Sources in PWD revealed that tenders to allocate work orders were deferred thrice. The Centre had reportedly told Karnataka that it would give clearance only if more than 80 percent of the land is acquired for the project.
“We have already acquired 60 percent of the land and the remaining land will be acquired in a few weeks’ time. The Centre has also assured us of clearing the project by then,” Dr. Mahadevappa explained.