Hyderabad: The Hyderabad-Vijayawada National Highway, supposed to be the arterial road link of the state, is said to bring the two cities closer to each other in terms of travelling time. In the context of bifurcation, it will also serve as an important link betw-een the new states.
But a drive along the highway reveals that a lot needs to be done for it to be called a world-class highway. For starters, service roads are practically non-existent along most of the stretch forcing locals of several villages and towns are to use the highway for commuting. Officials defend themselves by saying that land acquisition problems and pressure from politicians are to be blamed for it and add that bypasses are being provided wherever possible.
The section of Hyderabad-Vijayawada highway, rechristened NH 65 from NH 9 in the Gazette a couple of years ago, extends from Batasingaram to Nandigama and is about 181 km long. The highway was constructed by a consortium of GMR and Punj Lloyd at a cost of around Rs 1,740 crore. It was completed in December 2012 but faced protests for high toll rates and absence of underpasses at several areas.
Commercial activities dot the highway near towns making it congested and constricted. Though deemed as completed by the National Highways Authority of India, construction at several places is still going on even though toll collections started almost a year ago.
Locals have been protesting over how the highway could be declared open for use or toll collected without service roads. Almost all throughout Nalgonda district, in places like Chityala, Kat-tangur, Narkatpally, Suryapet and others, service roads are completely non-existent.
Service roads are incomplete near Nakrekal town and drainage works like pipeline laying are still in progress. People are having to cross the highway at several places like Miryalguda Road, Tirumulgiri and so forth. In Kattangur mandal as well, there are no service roads. The highway was also flooded completely in the heavy rains of October last year for lack of culverts at several places.
P. Ramesh Reddy, project director at PIU Hyderabad, NHAI, however, said, “The project was completed as per the concession agreement between the NHAI and the GMR Punj Lloyd consortium. The agreement has been executed. The design is as per our specification so there is no question of faults or defects.”
Officials also said that improvements on the highway are an ongoing process and will be taken as part of the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) after the BOT period of 25 years ends. Also, surprisingly, there are no third party checks on the national highway.
NHAI officials said the project is certified by their own internal engineer. “There is no third party check for the highway or an independent engineer. It is our own internal engineer who certifies the project and submits a report,” a senior NHAI official said.
Next: 346 deaths on NH 65 in Nalgonda
346 deaths on NH 65 in Nalgonda
Hyderabad: Despite several measures and increasing awareness on road accidents among the public, the National Highway 65 continues to remain a death trap.
A major part of the highway falls in the Nalgonda district where the number of accidents has only been on the rise. Police officials cite illegal parking at random places on the highway and over-speeding as the main reasons for the accidents.
The number of accidents have been rising with each passing year. In 2013, 335 accidents and 346 deaths were recorded on the highway passing through Nalgonda. While in 2012, there were 311 accidents and 348 fatalities, in 2011, there were only 277 accidents and 311 deaths.
The number of accidents have only increased after the development of the highway. Locals say lack of service roads throughout Nalgonda district forces people to use the highway alongside speeding cars and buses.
The Narkatpally stretch near Kamineni Hospital junction is one of the most accident-prone parts of the highway. TD leader Lal Jaan Basha had died when his vehicle hit the divider near the junction. Days before that, several members of a family were killed when their car had rammed into a truck....